May 7, 2008 - The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Health System is the first medical center in the U.S. to begin treating cancer patients with RapidArc radiotherapy, reportedly delivering advanced image-guided, intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) two to eight times faster than is possible with conventional IMRT or helical tomotherapy.
RapidArc makes it possible to program a Varian linear accelerator to deliver a complete volumetric IMRT treatment with a single rotation of the treatment machine around the patient. Treatment planning analyses have reportedly shown that RapidArc matches or exceeds the precision of conventional IMRT systems and spares more of the healthy tissue surrounding the tumor. Unrelated clinical studies on radiotherapy correlate the ability to spare more healthy tissue with reduced complications and better outcomes.
"Our first RapidArc patient has early-stage prostate cancer, and chose radiation therapy for his treatments," said John B. Fiveash, M.D., radiation oncologist. "He'll be receiving daily treatments for four weeks, so he was quite pleased to find out that, using RapidArc technology, we would be completing his treatments in under two minutes per day. Delivering IMRT would have taken at least five times longer with earlier technologies."
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