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First RapidArc Radiotherapy Treatment in Italy Takes Place at Leading Milan Cancer Center
Date:1/6/2009

MILAN, Italy, Jan. 6 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- A pancreatic cancer patient has become the first person in Italy 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. The Humanitas Clinic in Milan delivered the faster treatment using RapidArc(TM) radiotherapy technology from Varian Medical Systems (NYSE: VAR).

"We see three major benefits with RapidArc," added Dr. Marta Scorsetti, lead clinician at Humanitas. "The short treatment time -- under two minutes in this case -- decreases the chances of the patient moving during treatment, which helps to improve precision. RapidArc enables us to spare more healthy tissue from receiving unnecessary dose and we believe this additional precision will enable us to increase the dose, which should contribute to a higher cure rate."

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

Dr. Scorsetti said, "The patient reacted very well to the new treatment and he was comfortable throughout the two minutes he was on the treatment table. As the overall treatment time was reduced, we will be able to treat more patients and consequently reduce waiting times."

Dr. Scorsetti said pancreatic cancers are not traditional candidates for complex treatments with intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) but the introduction of RapidArc means that such patients as well as prostate and head and neck cancer patients can now receive the most advanced radiotherapy treatments in a short time.

Humanitas, one of the largest hospitals in the Milan urban area, serves up to three million people and treats 150 patients a day in the radiotherapy department. The clinic treats patients using three Varian Clinac accelerators, one of which is equipped with an On-Board Imager device that is necessary for the delivery of RapidArc treatments.

Doctors at Humanitas believe the volumetric arc therapy treatments offered by RapidArc are at the cutting edge of patient care. "While helical tomotherapy has been introduced for specialty treatments by some centers in Italy, we are going a big step further by introducing a volumetric treatment approach that is much faster and far more comfortable for the patient," said Urso Gaetano, a medical physicist at the hospital. "What multi-slice CT scanning did for CT, RapidArc does for radiotherapy."

RapidArc delivers a volumetric intensity-modulated radiation therapy treatment in a single or multiple arcs of the treatment machine around the patient and makes it possible to deliver advanced image-guided IMRT two to eight times faster than is possible with conventional IMRT or helical tomotherapy. Radiotherapy studies correlate the ability to spare more healthy tissue with reduced complications and better outcomes.

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 http://www.varian.com/.


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SOURCE Varian Medical Systems
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