News | May 07, 2009

First Site in Wales to Offer Advanced Radiotherapy with RapidArc

May 7, 2009 - Glan Clywd Hospital will soon offer local cancer patients across North Wales advanced radiotherapy treatments using RapidArc radiotherapy technology on two new treatment machines from Varian Medical Systems.

The site will install the Clinac linear accelerators with RapidArc to become the first in Wales to offer this new, faster form of radiotherapy that extends more advanced care to more patients.

The new machines ordered in March will be installed in new treatment rooms to be constructed at the hospital beginning in June. The project is part of a multi-million pound initiative to replace ageing machines in the hospital, which serves a population of more than 700,000 across North Wales. The new equipment should be clinical by early 2011.

Equipped with On-Board Imager devices for advanced X-ray imaging and RapidArc capability, the new machines will be used to deliver image-guided IMRT (intensity modulated radiotherapy) up to eight times more quickly than with conventional IMRT. Faster treatments have significant benefits in terms of precision, since the patient has less time to move during a treatment session, and patient comfort, as the patient is on the couch for less time.

"This is a big step forward because our current treatment machines have been used continuously since we opened ten years ago and they do not allow us to perform the most modern and advanced treatments," says Dr. Jaap Vaarkamp, head of radiotherapy physics at Glan Clwyd Hospital. "RapidArc is very exciting because it makes IMRT much quicker to deliver. We are currently only able to use IMRT on one of our machines, so this is a major step forward."

Nest Bowl, radiotherapy services manager, said the investment project was given the go-ahead by the Welsh Assembly in April 2009 as part of a ten-year strategy to upgrade radiotherapy provision in Wales. She said Varian equipment was selected after a rigorous tender process. "We are very excited about being able to offer our patients image-guided and RapidArc treatments," she added. "We already use Varian equipment so it also makes sense from an interface and training perspective to acquire the latest Varian technology."

With RapidArc, Varian's Clinac accelerator can target beams at a tumor while continuously rotating around the patient, delivering a precise and efficient treatment in single or multiple arcs. Conventional IMRT treatments are slower and more difficult for radiotherapy radiographers because they target tumors using a complex sequence of fixed beams from multiple angles.

For more information: www.varian.com

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