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Varian Medical Systems to Showcase Fast, Precise Brachytherapy Planning System at Annual Meeting of American Association of Physicists in Medicine

PHILADELPHIA, July 14 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- A significantly more accurate* way of calculating the dosimetry of cancer treatments will be spotlighted by Varian Medical Systems (NYSE: VAR) at the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) annual meeting at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia from July 18th-22nd. Acuros® BV enables clinicians to rapidly calculate patient doses for brachytherapy radiotherapy treatments with an extremely high level of accuracy.

"This is a major step forward in terms of accuracy with timeframes that were previously thought unimaginable," says Sophie Wetherall, Varian BrachyTherapy software product manager. "Acuros BV offers an improvement in dose calculation that will help clinicians make better decisions about dose to their patients and further their knowledge and ability to make treatments even more accurate."

Since its introduction in 2009, clinicians have been researching the dosimetric calculation capabilities of Acuros BV and some leading brachytherapy practitioners and academics will be presenting papers at AAPM on the subject.


Dr. Dorin Todor, M.D., head of brachytherapy at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia, says, "While Monte Carlo software packages have existed for a long time, the tediousness of using them, combined with hours or days of running the algorithms, have made them virtually impractical for use in the clinic, rendering them useful to only a handful of researchers for mostly academic purposes. By comparison, Acuros appears to be a major step forward in accuracy and speed."

Professor Mark Rivard, PhD, professor of radiation oncology and chief medical physicist at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, says, "I have been evaluating the Acuros BV system since mid-2009 and it is clear the sophisticated dose calculation algorithm is revolutionary for brachytherapy, with speed that is phenomenal compared to Monte Carlo-based calculations." Prof. Rivard said he finds that Acuros BV will provide more accurate HDR (high dose rate) brachytherapy dose distributions than previously clinically possible.

Dr. Firas Mourtada, of MD Anderson in Houston, Texas, will be presenting his findings at AAPM following a retrospective comparison of TG-43 dose calculations and Acuros BV for breast patients.  

Dose calculations

Dose levels for brachytherapy have generally been calculated as if the sources are surrounded by water, whereas in reality a patient's anatomy contains many different materials such as bone, lung, tissue and air, as well as additional materials that are often present from inserted applicators. In the past the only way to account for this was using Monte Carlo calculation techniques, something that was only available as a research tool. Now, for the first time in routine clinical brachytherapy, Acuros BV is able to account for the dose effects from these variations.

"Acuros BV calculation times tend to average between three and eight minutes depending on the applicator used," adds Sophie Wetherall. "By comparison, the same calculations could take hours or days using the standard Monte Carlo method."

Professor Panos Papagiannis, and his team at the department of medical physics at the University of Athens in Greece carried out an independent dosimetric accuracy check of the new system. "We implemented a series of tests following a graded approach and concluded that Acuros BV is the first treatment planning system that not only handles standard TG-43 based calculations but also incorporates the capability to accurately calculate truly individualized patient dose distributions," said Prof. Papagiannis.

As well as Acuros BV, Varian Medical Systems will be exhibiting its full range of brachytherapy hardware and software solutions at AAPM.

*Compared to standard techniques using the American Association of Physicists in Medicine TG-43 formulism.

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

SOURCE Varian Medical Systems, Inc.
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