January 14, 2009 - Trinitas Comprehensive Cancer Center became at the end of December one of the first cancer treatment centers in the state of New Jersey to offer cancer patients treatment using RapidArc radiotherapy technology from Varian Medical Systems.
RapidArc treatments at Trinitas are accomplished using the Trilogy linear accelerator from Varian. Trinitas was the first treatment center in New Jersey to offer patient treatments on this state-of-the-art equipment back in Fall 2005. The Trilogy machine was upgraded to deliver RapidArc treatments using a beam-shaping device called a multi-leaf collimator (MLC). This device has 120 computer-controlled mechanical "leaves" that move to create apertures of different shapes and sizes. During a RapidArc treatment, specialized software algorithms vary three parameters simultaneously: the speed of rotation around the patient, the shape of the MLC aperture, and the dose delivery rate.
"Rapid Arc makes it possible for us to deliver highly-precise intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) treatments quickly," said Lisa Henson, M.D., chair of Radiation Oncology at Trinitas. "These treatments target tumors accurately while sparing the surrounding healthy tissues."
Rapid Arc is an image-guided intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) treatment that according to the manufacturer takes about 90 seconds to deliver once a patient has been positioned for treatment, which is markedly faster than other forms of treatment, which can take up to 20 minutes or longer per session. During a RapidArc treatment session, which is completed with one or multiple rotations of the treatment machine around the patient, the radiation beam is continually shaped and reshaped according to the size, shape and position of the tumor in the body.
According to Dr. Henson, because the treatment is fast, it is also easier on the patient. "Patients who had difficulty holding still for long periods of time, are now able to receive their treatment in less time, thereby allowing us to improve quality of care while simultaneously making patients more comfortable," she said.
For more information: www.varian.com