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First European IGRT School Takes Place for Radiotherapy Practitioners in UK

CLATTERBRIDGE, England, Sept. 27 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Varian Medical Systems (NYSE: VAR) and one of Europe's leading oncology centers are jointly hosting Europe's first IGRT (image guided radiotherapy) training school, enabling hospitals across Europe to be trained to use the latest and most precise radiotherapy technologies available to radiation oncologists.

Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology (CCO) near Liverpool is the venue for the first event of its kind, taking place at the hospital and at nearby Thornton Hall Hotel over the next three days. Attendees at the first school include clinicians, physicists and radiographers from hospitals in Italy, Russia, Norway, Spain and Scotland, who are interested to learn the latest high precision image-guided radiotherapy techniques for themselves.

Clatterbridge was the first oncology center in the UK to install Varian's On-Board Imager(R) accessory, a state-of-the-art imaging device for tracking tumor movements and fine-tuning patient positioning immediately prior to treatment. Since its installation in 2005, the On-Board Imager has become a fundamental part of the center's radiotherapy treatments for cancer patients.

Julie Massey, head of radiotherapy, adds, 'We're proud of our clinical use of the On-Board Imager and the RPM(TM) Gating system and this gives us an opportunity to share this experience with our multi-disciplinary European colleagues. This recognises our achievements in establishing IGRT techniques within a routine clinical setting at Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology. We're delighted to work closely with Varian and to be able to offer this school to such a wide geographical area."

The schools will be run four times a year and will be offered to all hospitals purchasing Varian's On-Board kV imaging system. The next school takes place on December 6th-8th and 2008 events at Clatterbridge have been scheduled for dates in February, June, October and December.

Rolf Staehelin, Varian's European marketing director, says, "We have seen unprecedented demand for our image-guided accessories and a school such as this gives our new users the opportunity to see the device in action and learn from the experiences of the system's earliest and most experienced adopters."

Varian's On-Board Imager for IGRT makes it possible for clinicians to image and treat patients on a single machine that rotates around the patient to take X-ray images and deliver treatments from virtually any angle. Mounted on the linear accelerator, the On-Board Imager device produces high-resolution images of the tumor and tracks changes in tumor shape, size or position due to shrinkage or shifting over a multi-week course of treatment, and due to respiration.

IGRT can improve the quality of all forms of radiotherapy, including conventional, 3-D conformal, intensity-modulated, and stereotactic radiotherapies. "Techniques like intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) have enabled clinicians to shape the radiation beam so it conforms to the tumor being treated. IGRT makes it easier to know exactly where to aim the beams," says Dow Wilson, president of Varian's Oncology Systems business.

Prior to the advent of IGRT, radiation oncologists had to contend with variations in patient positioning and with respiratory motion by treating a larger margin of healthy tissue around the tumor. IGRT enables doctors to further minimize the volume of healthy tissue exposed to the treatment beam. Potentially, image data from IGRT tools like the On-Board Imager device will be used to note changes in tumor size and shape over a course of treatment, and make real-time adaptations to the treatment plan.

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 4,400 people who are located at manufacturing sites in North America and Europe and in its 60 sales and support offices around the world. For more information, visit

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SOURCE Varian Medical Systems
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