News | July 06, 2008

Cancer Center First to Fire Up Varian's New RT System

July 7, 2008 - The Center for Radiation Therapy of Beverly Hills became the first medical center in California to commence treating cancer patients with a new technique utilizing RapidArc radiotherapy technology from Varian Medical Systems.

RapidArc delivers image-guided, intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) treatment reportedly two to eight times faster than is possible with conventional IMRT or helical tomotherapy.

Prior to each treatment, special imaging technology is used to pinpoint the targeted tumor and line it up so that the radiation is delivered precisely and accurately. Once the patient is properly positioned, the actual treatments are said to be typically delivered in less than two minutes with just a single 360-degree rotation of the treatment machine around the patient.

A 77-year-old man with glioblastoma multiforme, a form of brain cancer, was the first to receive a two-minute RapidArc treatment at the center. "This patient was an ideal candidate, because RapidArc targets cancerous regions and limits the amount of dose reaching the surrounding healthy tissues," said Henry Yampolsky, M.D., radiation oncologist. "We always want to avoid hitting healthy tissues, and that was especially important for this particular patient because the tumor is very close to the optic chiasm and brainstem-two critical areas that need to be protected."

In addition, Dr. Yampolsky said that his patient is extremely claustrophobic and has a fear of lying flat, so conventional treatments, which take up to 20 minutes, have been hard for him to tolerate. "Using RapidArc, we were able to complete the treatment in less than four minutes, significantly reducing the amount of time that the patient had to spend on the table."

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