February 2, 2009 - The University Hospital of Leuven delivered treatment using RapidArc radiotherapy technology from Varian Medical Systems, on a74-year-old prostate cancer patient has become the first person in Belgium to be treated using a new, faster form of radiotherapy that extends more advanced care to more patients.

The patient, a retired military aircraft engineer from Kortenberg near Leuven, said he was pleased to be the country’s first to receive this advanced form of image-guided intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT). By coincidence, his older brother was also treated for prostate cancer at the hospital two years ago, receiving a successful course of conventional IMRT.

"This patient is now feeling very well and he is very proud of being number one in Belgium," says Karin Haustermans, M.D., head of the Department of Oncology. "We are identifying patients for whom RapidArc is a beneficial treatment and we have been very pleased with the early results. Not everyone will be treated in this way but it appears to have major advantages in speed and precision for many of our prostate cancer patients."

Frank Van den Heuvel, director of physics, believes RapidArc will enable the hospital to bring down standard treatment slots from 12 minutes to ten minutes, enabling six patients to be treated per hour rather than five. "This is an entirely new technique for us so early treatments will inevitably take a
little longer but once it becomes a part of our routine I believe we can achieve these targets," he said.

The University Hospital of Leuven treats up to 200 patients per day on five Varian Clinac linear accelerators. The hospital was one of the earliest in Europe to introduce IMRT treatments and the technique is now used routinely for prostate, head & neck, oesophagus and rectal cancer treatments.
As the hospital becomes more familiar with the technique, RapidArc image-guided IMRT treatments will gradually be introduced for indications other than prostate cancer.

For more information: www.varian.com

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