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Cancer Patients in Scotland Gain Access to Advanced RapidArc Radiotherapy Treatments from Varian Medical Systems

GLASGOW, Scotland, July 15 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- One of the UK's largest radiotherapy departments has begun treatments using fast and efficient RapidArc® technology from Varian Medical Systems (NYSE: VAR).  Four head & neck cancer patients have been treated to date at the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre in Glasgow.

The advanced RapidArc system, which has been introduced clinically on two Varian Clinac® medical linear accelerators, delivers precise image-guided IMRT (intensity modulated radiotherapy) up to four times faster than conventional IMRT, which the Beatson introduced in 2005. Studies* show that faster treatments allow for greater precision, since there is less chance of patient or tumor movement during treatment delivery and, with less time on the treatment couch, also allow for greater patient comfort.

"This is a significant advance for one of the busiest cancer centers in the country and provides an opportunity to offer advanced IMRT treatments to more patients," says David Dodds, clinical lead for radiotherapy. "In the past the provision for IMRT has been limited as this sophisticated technique typically takes longer to deliver. RapidArc will allow us to treat much more quickly and as a result more patients will be able to benefit from the technology."

Garry Currie, head of radiotherapy physics at the Beatson, added, "RapidArc was installed on two of the department's linear accelerators a few weeks ago and was commissioned quickly to allow the benefits of this technology to be made available as soon as possible to patients requiring radiotherapy treatment for head and neck cancer.  These treatments will be extended to include other cancers such as prostate and brain in the months ahead."

He added, "The Beatson was the first radiotherapy centre in Scotland to introduce IMRT and we have been seeking new methods to allow more patients to receive the benefits of this highly conformal technology. Previously, patient treatments would have required up to nine different positions of the treatment machine to be set in sequence. Now, instead of this stop and start approach, with RapidArc such treatments will take place in two continuous rotations of the machine, taking just over two minutes. This is up to four times quicker to deliver than standard IMRT."

The Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre treats more than 7,000 patients each year on 11 Varian medical linear accelerators. With a catchment area covering half the population of Scotland, the center has a history of pioneering advanced radiotherapy treatments.  

"We are delighted that more patients will gain access to image-guided IMRT treatments thanks to RapidArc," says David Dodds. "IMRT has become established as an accurate, reliable and efficient means of radiotherapy delivery, allowing optimum radiation doses to be delivered to the tumor while at the same time allowing sparing of surrounding normal tissues. As a result, side-effects from radiation treatment are significantly diminished and tumor control is potentially increased."

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 5,000 people who are located at manufacturing sites in North America, Europe, and China and approximately 79 sales and support offices around the world. For more information, visit

*Published papers on this topic:

Bertelsen, Anders, et al. "Single Arc Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy of Head and Neck Cancer." Radiotherapy and Oncology 95 2 (2010): 142-148.

Doornaert, Patricia, et al. "RapidArc Planning and Delivery in Patients with Locally Advanced Head-and-Neck Cancer Undergoing Chemoradiotherapy." International Journal of Radiation Oncology*Biology*Physics In Press, Corrected Proof. Available online 24 April 2010.

Bhide, S. A., and C. M. Nutting. "Advances in Radiotherapy for Head and Neck Cancer." Oral Oncology In Press, Corrected Proof. Available online 20 April 2010

Verbakel, Wilko F. A. R., et al. "Volumetric Intensity-Modulated Arc Therapy Vs. Conventional IMRT in Head-and-Neck Cancer: A Comparative Planning and Dosimetric Study." International Journal of Radiation Oncology*Biology*Physics 74 1 (2009): 252-259.

SOURCE Varian Medical Systems, Inc.
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