September 15 - Ghent University Hospital in Belgium, among the first hospitals in the world to pioneer radiotherapy treatments using arc radiotherapy, is acquiring RapidArc technology from Varian Medical Systems.
The hospital, which has developed its own intensity modulated arc therapy (IMAT) planning system, has carried out such treatments on prostate and gynaecological cancer patients for several years with reportedly impressive results in tumor control and reduced complications. There are now plans to extend such treatments to other sites.
“The problem is that using our own system, it takes half an hour to deliver treatments, even longer if we use image-guided radiotherapy,” said professor Marc van Eijkeren, head of Ghent University Hospital’s department of radiation oncology. “Our normal radiotherapy treatment slots are ten minutes so it means we take up three slots to deliver one arc therapy treatment, placing a big strain on our busy department.
“As more and more patients are becoming eligible for these treatments and patient referrals for arc therapy increase, we knew we needed to find a solution that allowed our patients to have these advanced treatments without causing a backlog. We are convinced that RapidArc is the only commercial system available at the moment that can deliver these treatments in such a short time.”
Professor van Eijkeren says his hospital’s long history with advanced techniques such as IMAT and intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) comes from its goal of gaining greater tumor control and fewer side effects. Ghent University Hospital serves more than 1.5 million people in the northern regions of Belgium. The Clinac iX equipped with Varian’s RapidArc technology is due to be installed at the hospital in October and RapidArc treatments are planned to commence in spring 2009.
For more information: www.varian.com