RapidArc Treats First UK Patient, Targets Prostate Cancer

December 10, 2008 – A prostate cancer patient from Warrington in Cheshire, UK, becomes first in his country to be treated using RapidArc Radiotherapy from Varian Medical Systems.

The 65-year-old cancer patient was diagnosed with prostate cancer in June, and reportedly has had his treatment slot reduced by 25 percent due to the introduction of RapidArc, with even greater savings in 'beam-on' time.

With RapidArc, Varian’s Clinac medical linear accelerator can target radiation beams at a tumor while making one continuous rotation around the patient. RapidArc delivers a volumetric intensity-modulated radiation therapy treatment in a single or multiple arcs of the treatment machine around the patient and makes it possible to deliver advanced image-guided IMRT two to eight times faster than is possible with conventional IMRT.

According to Angela Heaton, the 'beam-on' time for the patient was reduced from nearly four minutes with conventional IMRT to just one minute 10 seconds with RapidArc. The total time he spent in the treatment room was reduced from over 10 minutes to eight and a half minutes. In addition, the RapidArc prostate plan resulted in a better dose distribution and avoidance of organs at risk, she said. "Shortly we intend to start using RapidArc for complex head and neck cancer treatments and we expect the beam-on time will be reduced from 25 minutes using IMRT to about two and a half minutes using two arcs with RapidArc, resulting in more efficient treatments and potentially shortening waiting lists," said Angela Heaton, research radiographer at Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology, where the patient was treated.

RapidArc technology allows more control to conform the dose more closely to the size, shape, and location of the tumor. Faster treatment also contributes to precision by reducing the time for motion within the anatomy, and laboratory studies suggest that faster dose delivery may kill some cancer cells more effectively.

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