Milan Cancer Centre treats first patient in Italy with RapidArc
15 January 2009
A pancreatic cancer patient has become the first person in Italy to
be treated using a new, faster form of radiotherapy that potentially
enables doctors to improve outcomes while extending more advanced care
to more patients.
The Humanitas Clinic in Milan delivered the faster treatment using
RapidArc radiotherapy technology from Varian Medical Systems.
“We see three major benefits with RapidArc,” added Dr. Marta Scorsetti,
lead clinician at Humanitas. “The short treatment time – under two
minutes in this case – decreases the chances of the patient moving
during treatment, which helps to improve precision. RapidArc enables us
to spare more healthy tissue from receiving unnecessary dose and we
believe this additional precision will enable us to increase the dose,
which should contribute to a higher cure rate.”
With RapidArc, Varian’s Clinac® medical linear accelerator can target
radiation beams at a tumor while rotating continuously around the
patient. Conventional intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) treatments
are slower and more difficult for radiotherapy radiographers and
patients because they target tumors using a complex sequence of fixed
beams from multiple angles.
Dr. Scorsetti said, “The patient reacted very well to the new treatment
and he was comfortable throughout the two minutes he was on the
treatment table. As the overall treatment time was reduced, we will be
able to treat more patients and consequently reduce waiting times.”
Dr. Scorsetti said pancreatic cancers are not traditional candidates for
complex treatments with intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) but the
introduction of RapidArc means that such patients as well as prostate
and head and neck cancer patients can now receive the most advanced
radiotherapy treatments in a short time.
Humanitas, one of the largest hospitals in the Milan urban area, serves
up to three million people and treats 150 patients a day in the
radiotherapy department. The clinic treats patients using three Varian
Clinac accelerators, one of which is equipped with an On-Board Imager
device that is necessary for the delivery of RapidArc treatments.
Doctors at Humanitas believe the volumetric arc therapy treatments
offered by RapidArc are at the cutting edge of patient care. “While
helical tomotherapy has been introduced for specialty treatments by some
centers in Italy, we are going a big step further by introducing a
volumetric treatment approach that is much faster and far more
comfortable for the patient,” said Urso Gaetano, a medical physicist at
the hospital. “What multi-slice CT scanning did for CT, RapidArc does
RapidArc delivers a volumetric intensity-modulated radiation therapy
treatment in a single or multiple arcs of the treatment machine around
the patient and makes it possible to deliver advanced image-guided IMRT
two to eight times faster than is possible with conventional IMRT or
helical tomotherapy. Radiotherapy studies correlate the ability to spare
more healthy tissue with reduced complications and better outcomes.
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