LEEDS, England, June 25, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- A 51-year-old male became the first person to benefit from a radiation therapy technique that provides exceptional precision and high-speed delivery. Clinicians at St. James's University Hospital used Elekta's Agility™* multileaf collimator (MLC) and Elekta Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy (VMAT) to treat the patient's tongue cancer. The combination of the two innovations reduced the time it takes to deliver the radiation beams from five minutes down to just two minutes.
Recently released for sale across Europe, and with 510(k) clearance in the U.S., Agility is Elekta's revolutionary new MLC. The device comprises many individual tungsten leaves used to shape beams of radiation as therapeutic doses are delivered from different angles around the patient. Agility's 160, five-millimeter wide leaves are capable of traveling at twice the speed of those in a conventional MLC, and provide a much-improved ability to conform to the shape of tumors.
Elekta VMAT is an advanced radiation therapy technique that delivers treatment in one or more continuous high-speed arcs around the patient, enabling the radiation dose to precisely conform to a tumor by modulating the radiation beam's intensity during gantry rotation. Clinicians can use Elekta VMAT with complete or partial arc(s) to reduce treatment times substantially.
Elekta's Monaco® treatment planning system also contributed to the patient's treatment by enabling much lower parotid (salivary gland) and larynx doses than traditional plans the Leeds team had been producing.
"The oncologists are really pleased with the dose distributions, because they predict fewer side effects for the patients," says John Lilley, physicist at St. James's, part of The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. "This is very important, because an excessive dose to the parotid gland can inhibit its function, causing a dry mouth and making it difficult to taste food."
"The combination of planning with Monaco, VMAT and Agility means that the treatment times are significantly reduced," he continues. "For this particular tongue cancer patient, the VMAT delivery was three minutes quicker – two minutes versus five minutes – than the regular conformal plan. This is very important because the immobilization mask the patient wears for treatment can be uncomfortable and reduced treatment times means less risk of patient movement. Quicker treatment times make a big difference for us as well, as it means we can schedule treatments to more patients per day."
St. James's research work with Agility was supported by Elekta and the Leeds Teaching Hospitals Charitable Trustees.
*Agility is not licensed for sale in all markets. Please contact your local representative for details.
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Elekta is a human care company pioneering significant innovations and clinical solutions for treating cancer and brain disorders. The company develops sophisticated, state-of-the-art tools and treatment planning systems for radiation therapy, radiosurgery and brachytherapy, as well as workflow enhancing software systems across the spectrum of cancer care. Stretching the boundaries of science and technology, providing intelligent and resource-efficient solutions that offer confidence to both healthcare providers and patients, Elekta aims to improve, prolong and even save patient lives.
Today, Elekta solutions in oncology and neurosurgery are used in over 6,000 hospitals worldwide. Elekta employs around 3,300 employees globally. The corporate headquarters is located in Stockholm, Sweden, and the company is listed on the Nordic Exchange under the ticker EKTAb. Website: www.elekta.com.
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