Danish and Dutch hospitals first in Europe to use Varian's RapidArc
18 May 2008
Doctors in Denmark and the Netherlands have successfully carried out
Europe’s first clinical treatments using advanced RapidArc technology
from Varian Medical Systems (NYSE: VAR). Cancer patients at Copenhagen’s
Rigshospitalet and Amsterdam’s VU University medical centre have
benefited from this advanced form of intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT).
Dr Svend Aage Engelholm, chief radiation oncologist of the Department
of Radiation Oncology at Copenhagen University Hospital (Rigshospitalet),
said, “Our first image-guided RapidArc treatment went perfectly and the
only unusual aspect was that the patient joined the clinical team in a
celebratory glass of champagne after treatment. He was certainly aware
that this was the first clinical treatment of its kind in Europe.” Dr
Engelholm said the actual treatment took just 75 seconds to deliver.
The 60-year-old patient, who was half-way through his scheduled
treatment cycle for prostate cancer, had been receiving five-field
image-guided intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) and doctors decided
to convert his treatment plan to RapidArc, which was commissioned on one
of the hospital’s Clinac iX linear accelerators earlier in the week.
“We knew that we would really be able to reduce the rectal dose to
this patient by using RapidArc and, as it turned out, we reduced it by
15%,” adds Dr Engelholm. He added that, as of this week, RapidArc would
be the hospital’s standard treatment for all prostate cancer patients
and other suitable indications would follow.
Clinicians in Amsterdam also carried out their first RapidArc
treatment on a 59-year-old head/neck cancer patient. Dr. Ben Slotman,
Professor and Chairman, Department of Radiation Oncology, VU University
medical center, said, “As our patient was undergoing re-irradiation, it
was important to minimize doses to the brainstem and critical
structures. We were able to achieve an optimal plan quickly with
RapidArc. We perform many IMRT treatments and will replace all such
treatments with RapidArc over time, especially as treatment planning and
dose verification only took 24 minutes, which is considerably faster
than with standard IMRT.”
The treatment in Amsterdam took place on a Trilogy linear accelerator
with advanced imaging using the machine’s On-Board Imager accessory.
Jiri Bocanek, Varian’s senior product manager for delivery systems,
said, “We greatly appreciate the dedicated work of these two cancer
centres to make these fast and accurate treatments a reality. After more
than a year of evaluation, testing and quality assurance work, we are
very happy to see a smooth clinical introduction of RapidArc.”
He also paid tribute to the other European members of the RapidArc
Council — CRLC Val d’Aurelle in Montpellier, France and University
Hospital in Zurich, Switzerland — who are also soon to start clinical
treatments with RapidArc.