News | October 24, 2011

Latest in Radiation Oncology Technology Discussed in Berlin


October 24, 2011 – Cancer experts from around the world gathered in Berlin to hear about advances in radiotherapy that are bringing additional treatment possibilities for cancer patients. More than 450 oncologists, physicists and radiotherapy practitioners are at the two-day Berlin Oncology Summit, organized by Varian Medical Systems, to share experiences and highlight the expanding use of radiotherapy and radiosurgery to treat an increasingly wide range of cancers.

Key sessions at the event look at ten years' worth of data since the first intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) treatments in Europe, as well as advanced clinical applications using higher dose delivery systems such as Varian's TrueBeam linear accelerator and the growing practice of hypo-fractionated stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) or stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR) treatments for prostate cancer.

SBRT, a form of radiosurgery that differs from traditional radiotherapy in that higher doses are given over a shorter number of treatments, is an emerging treatment for prostate cancer and a viable alternative, in some cases, to more invasive surgical procedures that require hospital stays and long recovery periods. Possible advantages of SBRT include fewer side effects and greater patient convenience.

Professor Volker Budach, head of the Clinic for Radio-oncology and Radiotherapy at the Campus Virchow-Klinikum and Campus Charite Mitte of the famous Charite Universitatsmedizin Berlin, who is delivering the keynote address at the oncology summit, said, "We continue to see great strides in radiotherapy technology and treatment delivering techniques that improve precision, bring down treatment times and make radiotherapy a feasible treatment for many more tumor sites. Events such as this summit enable oncologists from around the world to reveal outcomes and share best practices."

Among the highlights at the event was a presentation by Simona Castiglioni, M.D., of the Humanitas Clinic in Milan, Italy, describing pioneering work using the TrueBeam system to deliver SBRT for metastatic liver lesions and non-metastatic pancreatic cancer, as well as the use of RapidArc image-guided IMRT for total marrow irradiation.

Other key presentations describe using RapidArc to treat primary liver cancer from Po-Ming Wang, M.D., at the Cheng-Ching General Hospital in Taiwan, and the use of SBRT with RapidArc for spinal tumors from Wilko Verbakel, M.D., at VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

The Oncology Summit also features presentations on 'A Vision for Radiosurgery' by Prof. John Adler, M.D., Varian's chief of new clinical applications; 'Varian's Long Term Vision' by CEO Tim Guertin; and a welcome address by Dow Wilson, Varian's COO.

"Many of the major advances in radiotherapy and radiosurgery described at this event are in routine clinical use on a daily basis for the benefit of cancer patients worldwide," said Rolf Staehelin, international head of marketing operations for Varian. "What's particularly noticeable is the growing use of SBRT to treat cancers that would previously have only been treatable using surgery. These new techniques are offering patients an efficient, non-invasive out-patient alternative to invasive surgical approaches which entail anesthetic and long recovery periods in hospitals."

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