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Advances in Radiotherapy Detailed at Cancer Summit Organized by Varian Medical Systems
Date:10/20/2011

BERLIN, Oct. 20, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Cancer experts from around the world gathered in Berlin today to hear of advances in radiotherapy that are bringing additional treatment possibilities for cancer patients. More than 450 oncologists, physicists and radiotherapy practitioners are at the two-day Berlin Oncology Summit, organized by Varian Medical Systems (NYSE: VAR), to share experiences and highlight the expanding use of radiotherapy and radiosurgery to treat an increasingly wide range of cancers.

Key sessions at the event look at ten years' worth of data since the first IMRT (intensity modulated radiotherapy) treatments in Europe, as well as advanced clinical applications using higher dose delivery systems such as Varian's TrueBeam™ linear accelerator and the growing practise of hypo-fractionated stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) or stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR) treatments for prostate cancer.

SBRT, a form of radiosurgery which differs from traditional radiotherapy in that higher doses are given over a shorter number of treatments, is an emerging treatment for prostate cancer and a viable alternative, in some cases, to more invasive surgical procedures that require hospitals stays and long recovery periods.  Possible advantages of SBRT include fewer side effects and greater patient convenience.(i)

Professor Volker Budach, head of the Clinic for Radio-oncology and Radiotherapy at the Campus Virchow-Klinikum and Campus Charite Mitte of the famous Charite Universitatsmedizin Berlin, who is delivering the keynote address at the oncology summit, says, "We continue to see great strides in radiotherapy technology and treatment delivering techniques that improve precision, bring down treatment times and make radiotherapy a feasible treatment for many more tumor sites. Events such as this summit enable oncologists from around the world to reveal outcomes and share best practices."

Among the highlights at the event is a presentation by Dr. Simona Castiglioni of the Humanitas Clinic in Milan, Italy, describing pioneering work using the TrueBeam system to deliver SBRT for metastatic liver lesions and non-metastatic pancreatic cancer, as well as the use of RapidArc® image-guided IMRT for total marrow irradiation.  

Other key presentations describe using RapidArc to treat primary liver cancer from Dr. Po-Ming Wang at the Cheng-Ching General Hospital in Taiwan, and the use of SBRT with RapidArc for spinal tumors from Dr. Wilko Verbakel at VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam, Netherlands.  

The Oncology Summit also features presentations on 'A Vision for Radiosurgery' by Prof. Dr. John Adler, Varian's Chief of New Clinical Applications; 'Varian's Long Term Vision' by Chief Executive Officer Tim Guertin; and a welcome address by Dow Wilson, Varian's Chief Operating Officer.

Rolf Staehelin, international head of marketing operations for Varian's Oncology Systems group, said, "This is the twelfth time we have held a gathering such as this and this is the best attended yet. There has been tremendous interest shown by the oncology community.

"Many of the major advances in radiotherapy and radiosurgery described at this event are in routine clinical use on a daily basis for the benefit of cancer patients worldwide," he says. "What's particularly noticeable is the growing use of SBRT to treat cancers that would previously have only been treatable using surgery. These new techniques are offering patients an efficient, non-invasive out-patient alternative to invasive surgical approaches which entail anaesthetic and long recovery periods in hospitals."

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, 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 5,700 people who are located at manufacturing sites in North America, Europe, and China and approximately 70 sales and support offices around the world. For more information, visit http://www.varian.com or follow us on Twitter.

(i) Boike TP et al.  Phase I Dose-Escalation Study of Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy for Low- and Intermediate-Risk Prostate Cancer. J Clin Oncol 2011;29:2020-2026.


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