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Pioneering Cancer Center Introduces Advanced Varian RapidArc(TM) Treatments for Cancer Patients in Central Germany

NORDHAUSEN, Germany, Jan. 26 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Three prostate cancer patients have become the first people in Germany to be treated using a new, faster form of radiotherapy that potentially enables doctors to improve outcomes while extending more advanced care to more patients. Sudharz Krankenhaus in Nordhausen delivered the faster treatment using RapidArc(TM) radiotherapy technology from Varian Medical Systems (NYSE: VAR).

RapidArc delivers a precise and efficient treatment in a single or multiple arcs of the treatment machine around the patient and makes it possible to deliver advanced image-guided intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) two to eight times faster than is possible with conventional IMRT. At Sudharz Krankenhaus Nordhausen, doctors have been able to reduce the treatment time to just two and a half minutes compared with up to 30 minutes for complex IMRT treatments.

"It is very gratifying for me to begin treatments using the most modern moving arc method of radiotherapy," says Dr. Wolfgang Oehler, head of the radiotherapy department. "The three patients are excited to be the first in Germany to receive such treatments although the treatment was so quick that one patient questioned whether he had received the full dose. We assured him that he certainly had and he was pleased to only have to lie on the treatment table for a short time."

Dr. Oehler said RapidArc was a valuable weapon in the hospital's goal of bringing down waiting lists. "We knew we needed a brilliant new method of shortening treatment times and avoiding waiting lists while improving the quality of the treatment and it was not a hard decision to select RapidArc," he added.

Sudharz Krankenhaus treats up to 900 patients a year using two Varian Clinac(R) medical linear accelerators. The hospital pioneered advanced IMRT treatments in Germany, carrying out the country's first such treatment in June 2001 and treating a further 2,733 patients with the highly conformal technique in the eight years since.

The hospital's work has been praised by the president of the German Cancer Aid Society, Prof. Dr. Dagmar Schipanski. "For about seven years we have closely followed the IMRT activities at the Sudharz Krankenhaus Nordhausen," she said. "Clinicians at this center have treated more than 2,500 patients with IMRT and built a huge clinical knowledge base and experience on advanced treatment techniques. As a citizen of the state of Thuringen I'm particularly proud that a clinic in our state has now become the first in Germany to introduce such an elegant and efficient technique as RapidArc."

With RapidArc, Varian's Clinac accelerator can target radiation beams at a tumor while continuously rotating around the patient. Conventional IMRT treatments are slower and more difficult for radiotherapy radiographers because they target tumors using a complex sequence of fixed beams from multiple angles.

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 4,800 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

SOURCE Varian Medical Systems, Inc.
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