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Varian to Showcase RapidArc(TM) Radiotherapy Technology Enhancements at ASTRO 2008

New features enable more versatile approaches to dose-sculpting for the accurate targeting of large, irregularly shaped, or awkwardly-positioned


BOSTON, Sept. 22 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- ASTRO Booth # 547 -- Varian Medical Systems (NYSE: VAR), world leader in advanced radiotherapy solutions for treating cancer and other disorders, is exhibiting a full spectrum of technologies and products for planning and delivering fast, precise cancer treatments at the 50th annual meeting of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology in Boston this week. Among the innovations being showcased is a newly enhanced version of the company's popular RapidArc(TM) radiotherapy technology for speedy, precise volumetric arc IMRT.

"Last year at this time, we introduced RapidArc, which delivers a highly-precise volumetric IMRT treatment in less than two minutes with a single arc, or rotation, of the treatment machine around the patient," said Karla Knott, Varian's senior director of marketing. "This year we are showing a new version that makes RapidArc even more powerful and versatile for treating a broader spectrum of indications."

The enhanced version of RapidArc enables more versatile approaches for targeting large, irregularly shaped, or awkwardly-positioned tumors. It incorporates tools for planning and delivering IMRT treatments using one or more arcs, or multiple non-coplanar arcs, which are typically used for stereotactic radiosurgery.

RapidArc also now features the "skip" arc, which turns the beam off during some portion of a rotation, to completely avoid some parts of the patient's anatomy. With these new features, clinicians have more options for sculpting dose distributions to protect healthy tissues.

"Non-coplanar beams can be particularly useful, for example, when treating brain tumors that lie in the same plane as the eyes," explains Corey Zankowski, senior director for oncology product management. "By rotating the couch during treatment to deliver arcs from different angles, clinicians can greatly minimize any exposure of the eyes and still achieve an excellent dose distribution within the targeted tumor."

Joseph Ting, chief medical physicist at the MIMA Cancer Center in Melbourne, Florida, elaborates: "We'll see a big benefit in treating certain head and neck cancer cases, particularly when the tumor is low in the neck area, so that a conventional arc would pass through the shoulder area. You can reduce the amount of normal tissue exposed to the beam by choosing several arcs that enter away from the shoulder," he said.

According to Ting, use of multiple arcs in different planes also allows doctors to spread out the peripheral dose more widely, so that surrounding normal tissues receive much less radiation. "Normal tissue tolerances for low levels of radiation are pretty well known," Ting said. "By spreading the peripheral dose out over a greater volume of tissue, we can keep the level very, very low in any given area, particularly when treating with high-dose stereotactic radiosurgery."

Using several arcs also makes it possible to treat multiple tumors simultaneously. For example, when two or more tumors in the brain lie in front of one another, they can be accurately targeted with a single treatment that devotes an arc to each.

"This new version of RapidArc is part of our commitment to the continual development of versatile, uncompromising solutions for targeting cancer and minimizing undesirable side effects," says Knott. "With these enhancements, we are providing doctors with more angles of approach to use when targeting diseased tissue, and more degrees of freedom to optimize the treatment for each and every patient."


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 .


Varian Medical Systems

Meryl Ginsberg, 650-424-6444

SOURCE Varian Medical Systems, Inc.
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