News | March 30, 2009

German, Swiss Hospitals Treating ‘Difficult’ Cases with RapidArc

March 30, 2009 - Gottingen University Hospital in Germany and Zurich University Hospital in Switzerland are amongst the earliest implementers of the RapidArc system from Varian Medical Systems and have commenced treatments for complex cancers, including head and neck tumors.

Varian’s RapidArc delivers treatment in single or multiple arcs of the treatment machine around the patient and makes it possible to deliver image-guided IMRT reportedly two to eight times faster than is possible with conventional IMRT.

Doctors at Gottingen University Hospital are focusing early RapidArc treatments on what they describe as 'difficult' cases. "Today we are treating a nasopharyngeal cancer patient with a boost of RapidArc because we could not create an acceptable IMRT plan, so there are clearly some patients for whom RapidArc offers a more appropriate treatment," says Dr. Hilke Vorwerk.

Dr. Vorwerk said they will begin RapidArc treatments for patients with head and neck tumors and prostate cancer. "Our experience so far is that in most cases RapidArc is as good as conventional IMRT and in some cases superior, as well as being considerably faster, which is important for patient comfort but also for treatment precision as there is less patient motion," she said. Gottingen University Hospital has the only radiotherapy department south of Niedersachen and treats up to 2,000 new cancer patients each year.

"Up to now we have not had a major problem with waiting lists, but cancer referrals have increased by 150 percent in the last two years, so faster treatments will give us extra capacity to meet this growing demand," added Dr. Vorwerk. "In addition, more patients will be able to receive the most modern treatments available."

At Zurich University Hospital, a 55-year-old patient with a recurrence of a previously-operated tonsil cancer received RapidArc radiotherapy treatment from Dr. Gabriela Studer and her team. "Our first RapidArc treatment involved a difficult plan because we were treating lymph node metastases and we were very impressed by the speed of the new treatment," says Dr. Studer.

Zurich University Hospital and Gottingen University Hospital are among more than 70 institutions in the world with the new RapidArc treatment capability for image-guided IMRT. 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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