News | November 08, 2007

BC Cancer Agency Pioneers Improved Radiotherapy Treatment

November 9, 2007 - Clinicians at BC Cancer Agency have treated a prostate cancer patient with a technique, called volumetric arc therapy (VMAT), allowing clinicians to deliver a single treatment to their 72-year-old patient in less than two minutes.

The VMAT treatment is an advanced form of intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), which has the potential to measurably improve treatment precision by sparing more healthy tissue in addition to making treatments much faster and more comfortable for patients. It was made possible by software innovations developed by BC Cancer Agency clinicians together with an advanced medical linear accelerator and beam-shaping accessory from Varian Medical Systems.

Karl Otto, PhD, a medical physicist at the BC Cancer Agency, developed a special software algorithm that made it possible for his clinic to deliver the VMAT treatment. "The algorithm is designed to generate highly conformal dose distributions while taking advantage of the specific capabilities of the Varian linear accelerator," he said.

Building on Otto's work, Varian engineers have developed Varian's new RapidArc radiotherapy technology, which was exhibited for the first time at the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ASTRO). Varian's RapidArc product for VMAT can deliver intensity-modulated radiotherapy treatments two to eight times faster than was previously possible. It is currently pending FDA 510(k) clearance and not yet available for sale in the U.S.

For more information: www.varian.com

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