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Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah International Research Center Signs With Varian Medical Systems and IMRIS for Future Technology for Use in Radiotherapy

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia, Nov. 2, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- The Saudi Arabian National Guard Health Affairs ("NGHA") here today announced it has signed an agreement with Varian Medical Systems and IMRIS, Inc., to develop and build a facility for magnetic resonance-guided radiation therapy (MRgRT™).

Under the agreement, Varian and IMRIS will supply a cancer treatment solution that combines IMRIS' unique movable magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology with Varian's latest linear accelerator technology, the TrueBeam™ system.  MRI provides high quality soft tissue imaging that can be used to eradicate tumors using radiotherapy or radiosurgery.

"While this technology is still in the early developmental phase, we see great potential to advance the ability of clinicians to target tumors within soft tissue more precisely," said Dow Wilson, president of Varian's Oncology Systems business.

The solution will be designed to permit a high-field MRI scanner to move in and out of the radiation therapy room on demand, providing MR imaging to confirm a tumor's location without having to move the patient from the treatment couch or transport the patient to and from another room, as would be required today.  Due to the mobile nature of the MRI system, the radiation therapy systems are expected to be offered in multi-room configurations and include independent MR-simulation capabilities for the MR system to further enhance financial utility for hospitals.

Bandar Al Knawy, MD, FRCPC. CEO OF NGHA said, "The primary goal at National Guard Health Affairs is to become the nationwide leader of healthcare facilities in the region, as well as a globally recognized healthcare system with outstanding clinical services, high quality education/training and cutting-edge research. With our valuable partners, this project will demonstrate that clearly."

"We believe that MRI can provide improved soft tissue discrimination leading to greater physician confidence and more accurate treatments with both external beam and brachytherapy applications," noted Dr. Suliman Al-Ghamdi of NGHA.  "This technology represents a revolution in radiation therapy and we are proud to participate as a leader in this new field."

As part of the agreement, NGHA will participate in aspects of the development of this revolutionary technology and will consult with Varian and IMRIS on the clinical implementation of the new technology.

"There are many challenges to be addressed and the MR-Linac solution is a great opportunity for innovation in the field," commented Dr. Abdelhamid Saoudi, Chief Medical Physicist at NGHA Jeddah.  "We look forward to contributing to the overall solution in the developmental phase and maximizing the clinical utility in a busy radiation therapy practice."

The joint development of the MRgRT system between Varian and IMRIS was announced earlier this Fall.  Following the successful completion of the development stage of this project, and subject to necessary regulatory approvals, the companies anticipate co-branding the new MR-guided radiation therapy suite and leveraging Varian's global presence and leadership position in the fields of radiotherapy and radiosurgery to market the new product.  

About National Guard Health Affairs National Guard Health Affairs (NGHA) with its 4 Regional hospitals has made a clear determination to improve the health care delivery to its patients. NGHA believes that supporting health related research will have a major impact on the quality of both patient and community health care.  For this reason King Abdullah International Medical Research Center (KAIMRC) was established with a clear vision to be a leading Research Institute for the translational health science research. NGHA, King Saud Bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences (KSAU-HS) and KAIMRC appreciate the enormity and the effort required which is being taken to achieve the vision. Most importantly , is building a culture that supports research and researchers. KAIMRC encourages team work and team spirit as well as support and value the individual creativeness. KAIMRC is involving the community in the research endeavor by improving their awareness of different health problems including common diseases. KAIMRC is partnering with national and international organizations and private sectors in order to strengthen its research profile.  In addition, strong ethical practices and education are the corner stone of KAIMRC' foundation values.  

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About Varian Medical SystemsVarian 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 5,300 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

About IMRIS IMRIS (TSX: IM) is a global leader in providing image guided therapy solutions.  These solutions feature fully integrated surgical and interventional suites that incorporate magnetic resonance, fluoroscopy and computed tomography to deliver on demand imaging during procedures. The Company's systems serve the neurosurgical, cardiovascular and neurovascular markets and have been selected by leading medical institutions around the world. For further information visit

Forward-Looking StatementsThis press release may contain or refer to forward-looking information based on current expectations.  In some cases, forward-looking statements can be identified by terminology such as "anticipate", "may", "expect", "believe", "prospective", "continue" or the negative of these terms or other similar expressions concerning matters that are not historical facts.  These statements should not be understood as guarantees of future performance or results.  Such statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from those implied by such statements.  Although such statements are based on management's reasonable assumptions, there can be no assurance that actual results will be consistent with such statements.  Forward-looking statements are subject to significant risks and uncertainties, and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from expected results.  These forward-looking statements are made as of the date hereof and we assume no responsibility to update or revise them to reflect new events or circumstances. For further information, please contact:Meryl Ginsberg

Brad WoodsSenior Public Relations Manager

Director Investor Relations & Corporate Communications Varian Medical Systems

IMRIS Inc.Tel: 650-424-6444

Tel: 204-480-7094Email:


SOURCE Varian Medical Systems, Inc.
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