December 22, 2008 - A Swiss cancer clinic is among the first in the world to use the newest radiotherapy technology from Varian Medical Systems, RapidArc, to treat a child patient.
A 12-year-old girl with Hodgkin's lymphoma was treated using Varian's RapidArc technique at the Istituto Oncologico della Svizzera Italiana (IOSI) in Bellinzona, southern Switzerland.
The girl received her targeted radiotherapy dose in less than two and a half minutes, using two continuous revolutions of the device while she lay on the treatment machine. The RapidArc treatment was reportedly faster than would have been possible with conventional intensity modulated radiotherapy
(IMRT) treatments, which are slower and more difficult for radiotherapy radiographers because they target tumors using a complex sequence of fixed beams from multiple angles.
"Treating children with cancer is always challenging, but RapidArc enables us to deliver extremely precise treatments much more quickly than would have been possible previously, making it a much more comfortable experience for the patient while minimizing damage to healthy tissue," said radiation
oncologist Dr. Alessandra Franzetti-Pellanda. "Faster treatments mean there is less chance for the patient to move during delivery, which helps precision. It can also be uncomfortable lying on the couch so to be able to reduce the time of treatment while enhancing the precision is tremendously helpful." Dr. Franzetti-Pellanda worked with head medical physicist Dr. Antonella Fogliata and medical oncologist Dr. Pierluigi Brazzola to carry out the pioneering treatment.
IOSI became the first hospital in Switzerland to commence treatments using RapidArc in November. The hospital treats 700 patients a year on two Varian Clinac medical linear accelerators and RapidArc volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) capability has been added to one of these machines.
For more information: www.varian.com