May 15, 2012 -- European cancer experts have reported their progress with promising new radiosurgical techniques for treating cancer and other conditions using new linear accelerator technology from Varian Medical Systems. Speakers at Varian's Emerging Technologies Symposium at the annual ESTRO conference detailed their experiences with fast hypo-fractionated treatments for prostate patients and RapidArc Radiosurgery for intracranial and central nervous system indications.
Dr. Filippo Alongi, radiation oncologist at Humanitas Cancer Center in Rozzano-Milan, reported that he has used hypo-fractionation to reduce the number of treatment sessions for prostate cancer from 30 to as few as five. The center is equipped with Varian's versatile TrueBeam system for radiotherapy and radiosurgery.
"Our work at Humanitas is demonstrating that hypo-fractionation with TrueBeam is a precise and fast option for prostate cancer patients," said Dr. Alongi. "Each treatment is delivered in under five minutes and this compares very favorably against dedicated radiosurgical tools which can take 45 minutes per treatment session. We are giving the same dose with the same quality in a fraction of that time, and enabling patients to spend much less time on the treatment table."
Dr. Ufuk Abacioglu of Neolife Medical Center in Istanbul presented on the use of frameless, singe-fraction RapidArc® Radiosurgery for intracranial and central nervous system treatments, including malignant and benign tumors, vascular abnormalities and functional disorders.
"Frameless, non-invasive localization of the target with image-guidance has made it possible for us to treat larger disease sites in fewer sessions while avoiding the invasive procedure of attaching a frame to the patient's skull," said Dr. Abacioglu. "Using TrueBeam's ultra-fast high-intensity mode, image-guided radiosurgery can be completed in a standard 15-minute treatment slot rather than in conventional radiosurgery sessions that are typically two to five times longer. We are pleased with the clinical experience and patient response."
Prof. Carlo Greco from the University of Pisa in Italy described his clinic's experience with real-time tracking of prostate cancer using the Varian Calypso® system, which involves the use of implantable beacons to monitor motion by tracking movement in real time with sub-millimeter precision.
"Calypso enabled us to detect and measure motion during treatments so that we could plan to deliver doses within tighter margins around the disease site in order to reduce toxicity and complications in surrounding healthy tissue," said Prof. Greco. "Prostate motion occurs even during very short RapidArc treatments and detecting and correcting for this is of paramount importance when adopting hypo-fractionated schedules that involve delivering higher doses within each treatment session."
The Varian's Emerging Technologies Symposium was chaired and moderated by Professor Ben Slotman, head of radiation oncology at VU Medical Center in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Also at ESTRO 2012, Varian hosted a lunch symposium assessing different ways of delivering post-lumpectomy partial breast irradiation, with the relative benefits of external beam radiotherapy, intra-operative irradiation and brachytherapy examined. This session was moderated by Prof. Dr. Peter Niehoffof Koln Merheim Hospital in Germany and the debaters were Douglas Arthur, M.D. of Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine in the USA and Frank Sullivan, M.D. of Galway University Hospital in Ireland.
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