Healthcare Industry News:  radiosurgery 

Devices Oncology

 News Release - September 8, 2010

Complex Lung Cancer Treatments Delivered Successfully at Leading Varian-Equipped Proton Therapy Center

MUNICH, Sept. 8 -- (Healthcare Sales & Marketing Network) -- Clinicians at the Rinecker Proton Therapy Center (RPTC) in Munich are reporting using advanced proton therapy systems supplied by Varian Medical Systems (NYSE:VAR ) for difficult lung cancer treatments.

A 75-year-old patient with a large tumor in the right upper lung received 18 proton therapy treatments over three months. "By the end of the proton therapy treatment the tumor had halved in size and we expect it to regress further," said Professor Manfred Herbst, medical director at RPTC.

Another patient with cancer in the left lung received a course of advanced proton therapy at RPTC, which was able to protect the healthy right lung while at the same time keeping much of the remaining healthy tissue in the affected lung free of radiation. "A significant improvement in breathing was achieved after eight treatment days at the RPTC," said Prof. Herbst. "Image-based clinical monitoring using computer tomography showed a clear reduction of the tumor volume." Preliminary results of both these novel treatments were encouraging, according to RPTC clinicians.

To reduce tumor motion and increase targeted dose delivery during lung cancer treatments, patients at RPTC have controlled inflation of the lungs with oxygen during the application of a light anesthesia.

While conventional x-ray based radiotherapy utilizes photons and electrons to destroy tumors, proton therapy involves delivering heavy proton particles with a unique energy characteristic to destroy tumors. The proton energy has a predictable drop-off which enables oncologists to deposit the peak of the energy within the tumor and reduce the exposure to the surrounding healthy tissue. Proton therapy enables oncologists to increase dose control and limit exposure to healthy tissue while treating cancer and other indications. The advanced treatment technique used at RPTC - called pencil beam scanning – enhances precision by enabling clinicians to maximize dose to the tumor while minimizing dose to nearby sensitive organs and tissue.

"Proton therapy could prove to be a very valuable weapon in the fight against lung cancer," added Dr. Herbst. Results from comparative studies (see footnotes) suggest that proton radiation treatment could potentially be more effective even than surgery in many cases of lung cancer. These studies also demonstrate that proton therapy may reduce radiation exposure of healthy lung tissue and adjacent organs.

Editorial contact: Neil Madle, Varian Medical Systems, +44 7786 526068

About Varian Medical Systems

Varian Medical Systems, Inc., of Palo Alto, California, is the world's leading manufacturer of medical devices and software for treating cancer and other medical conditions with radiotherapy, radiosurgery, proton therapy, and brachytherapy. The company supplies informatics software for managing comprehensive cancer clinics, radiotherapy centers and medical oncology practices. Varian is a premier supplier of tubes and digital detectors for X-ray imaging in medical, scientific, and industrial applications and also supplies X-ray imaging products for cargo screening and industrial inspection. Varian Medical Systems employs approximately 5,200 people who are located at manufacturing sites in North America, China, and Europe and in its 70 sales and support offices around the world. For more information, visit

About the Rinecker Proton Therapy Center

The Rinecker Proton Therapy Center in Munich is the first fully certified proton radiation center in Europe, offering a complete hospital setting with five treatment rooms (gantries) for 4000 patients per year. This euro 150 Million facility was established at the initiative of Munich physician Dr. Hans Rinecker PhD and is equipped with some of the most modern and precise proton therapy equipment available worldwide. Sophisticated MRI, CT and PET-CT systems offer precise diagnostics for 3D proton radiation therapy planning. For more information, visit

Published papers on this topic:

High-dose proton therapy and carbon-ion therapy for stage I non small cell lung cancer. Iwata H, Murakami M, Demizu Y, Miyawaki D, Terashima K, Niwa Y, Mima M, Akagi T, Hishikawa Y, Shibamoto Y. Cancer. 2010 May 15;116(10):2476-85.

Hypofractionated Proton Beam Radiotherapy for Stage I Lung Cancer, David A. Bush, Jerry D. Slater, Brion B. Shin, Gregory Cheek, Daniel W. Miller and James M. Slater, Chest 2004;126;1198-1203, DOI 10.1378/chest.126.4.1198

Effects of Proton and Combined Proton/Photon Beam Radiation on Pulmonary Function in Patients With Resectable but Medically Inoperable Non-small Cell Lung Cancer , Reiner B. Bonnet, David Bush, Gregory A. Cheek, Jerry D. Slater, David Panossian, Christian Franke and James M. Slater, Chest 2001;120;1803-1810, DOI 10.1378/chest.120.6.1803

Source: Varian Medical Systems

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