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New Jersey Doctors Now Delivering Non-Invasive, Image-Guided Radiosurgery Treatments Using Novalis Tx(TM) Technology

One patient's brain abnormality is treated in a single session; patient goes home that same day

PALO ALTO, Calif., May 27 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Minutes after receiving a single, powerful non-invasive radiosurgery treatment, John Sisco, 64, happily walked out of the treatment room without any need for an overnight stay in the hospital, and left for home. Doctors at Somerset Medical Center, in Somerville, New Jersey, used the advanced Novalis Tx(TM) platform from Varian Medical Systems (NYSE: VAR) and BrainLAB to deliver the accurate, image-guided treatment designed to eradicate an abnormal tangle of blood vessels, called an artereo-venous malformation (AVM), that had grown near Sisco's brainstem.

Over a year earlier, Sisco's doctors had surgically removed about 60% of the AVM, but due to its proximity to the brain stem and other delicate blood vessels, chose to treat the remaining 40% using radiosurgery, which does not require any actual cutting, but attacks the lesion using high-energy X-ray beams. Using the Novalis Tx platform's image-guidance and robotically-controlled beam shaping tools, clinicians directed a precisely sculpted beam at the AVM, in a treatment designed to avoid surrounding sensitive brain structures.

Sisco's doctors gave him an entire year to recover after the initial surgery. "During that year, I was almost always light headed and exhausted. When I asked if I could go back to work, my doctors told me to forget about it," said Sisco, who had built machines that make plastic bottles. "My experience with radiosurgery has been considerably better. After the treatment was over, I met my wife in the waiting room, and we went home."

"Performing normal surgery a second time in this case was too high of a risk," said Jim Chimenti, MD, a neurosurgeon at Somerset Medical Center. "Novalis Tx gave us the careful precision we needed, as we were able to spread the dose over the deep seated lesion while avoiding as much of the delicate brain tissue, near the AVM, as possible."

"It's easy to consider the Novalis Tx machine as a surgical tool," added Dr. Chimenti. "Its image guidance capabilities are very similar to what we use in the operating room, and the beam-shaping device treats the lesion as a 3D object, similar to how a surgeon would approach it. We were able to achieve superb coverage of an irregularly shaped lesion."

Joel Braver, MD, medical director of radiation oncology at Somerset Medical Center's Steeplechase Cancer Center, said it will take around two years for Sisco's AVM to completely dissolve following the radiosurgery procedure. "Compared to traditional surgery, there is no cutting or damage to the skull, or need for lengthy recovery associated with surgery," said Dr. Braver. "John should be able to resume his normal activities, while the lesion slowly disappears, without a period of hospital convalescence. With Novalis Tx, he received an exceptional, highly accurate treatment and he's doing extremely well."

About Somerset Medical Center

Somerset Medical Center of Somerville, New Jersey is a nationally accredited, regional medical center providing comprehensive emergency, medical/surgical and rehabilitative services and a broad range of community programs to Central Jersey residents. The medical center is a major clinical affiliate of UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and a clinical research affiliate of The Cancer Institute of New Jersey. The Steeplechase Cancer Center at Somerset Medical Center is a $28 million outpatient facility that opened on the medical center's campus in 2007. The center houses radiation oncology, infusion therapy, the Sanofi-aventis Breast Care Program, the medical center's clinical research team, oncologists' offices, complementary medicine services and the Sanofi-aventis Wellness Boutique. For more information, visit

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 5,100 people who are located at manufacturing sites in North America, China, and Europe and in its 79 offices and facilities around the world. For more information, visit

About BrainLAB

BrainLAB develops, manufactures and markets software-driven medical technology that enables procedures that are more precise, less invasive, and also less expensive than traditional treatments. Among the core products are image-guided systems that provide highly accurate real-time information used for navigation during surgical procedures. This utility has been further expanded to serve as a computer terminal for physicians to more effectively access and interpret diagnostic scans and other digital medical information for better informed decisions. BrainLAB solutions allow expansion from a single system to operating suites to digitally integrated hospitals covering all subspecialties from neurosurgery, orthopedics, ENT, CMF to spine & trauma and oncology. With 3300 systems installed in over 75 countries, BrainLAB is a market leader in image-guided technology. The privately held BrainLAB group, founded in 1989, is headquartered in Munich, Germany, and today employs 1000 people in 16 offices across Europe, Asia, Australia, North and South America. To learn more, visit

    John Worlton, Varian Medical Systems
    650-424-6438 or

SOURCE Varian Medical Systems, Inc.
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