Zurich hospital first to give radiotherapy with new Varian
22 April 2010
The University Hospital of Zürich has become the first medical
centre in the world to treat cancer patients with the revolutionary
TrueBeam system from Varian Medical Systems.
The company's new platform for image-guided radiotherapy and
radiosurgery that was designed from the ground up to treat a moving
target with unprecedented speed and precision.
One of two of the world's premier cancer centres to install a
TrueBeam system in advance of its formal introduction to the world
last week, the University of Zürich began using the system
clinically in March this year. Since then, doctors there have
delivered treatments for prostate and lung cancer, as well as
schwannomas (benign nerve sheath tumours), brain, and spinal
"We are finding the system technically wonderful, giving us dose
distributions that are slightly superior to IMRT from a conventional
system, with lower doses to surrounding healthy tissues," said
Professor Urs M. Lütolf, M.D., clinical director and chairman of the
Department of Radiation Oncology at Zürich University Hospital.
"I have been astonished and excited to see the degree to which
the image isocenter matches the beam isocenter, at a level of
precision I have never seen before."
Two patients with vestibular schwannomas were the first to
receive RapidArc stereotactic radiosurgery treatments on the
hospital's new TrueBeam system. At the highest dose delivery rate
available on the system, these treatments took just over 1.6 minutes
to deliver —treatments that would require 6-8 minutes at
conventional dose delivery rates.
"It's a quarter of the time we needed for this type of treatment
before," said Dr Lütolf. In addition, these treatments took
advantage of the system's ability to deliver RapidArc treatments
from a flexible range of angles to maximize the dose to the targeted
tumor and avoid important nearby critical structures.
Dr Lütolf said while early TrueBeam treatments were focusing on
prostate and schwannomas, there are plans to extend treatments for
lung and upper GI tract cancers such as pancreas and gall bladder,
along with palliative treatments where he described the precision of
the TrueBeam system as 'imperative' in reducing side effects.
"The experience so far is of better precision delivered in
considerably less time," he said. "It is very satisfying to monitor
the treatment while it's underway, as you can see the prostate
markers are not moving even a millimeter."
"Clinical tools and processes have been re-implemented from
scratch into the TrueBeam design," observed Jan Hrbacek, scientific
collaborator at Zürich University Hospital. "This strategy has
simplified a wide spectrum of activities, while increasing the
accuracy of performed processes and our control over them." he said.