May 14, 2008 - The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Health System became the first medical center in the U.S. to treat cancer patients with a new technique called RapidArc radiotherapy from Varian Medical Systems.
RapidArc makes it possible to deliver advanced image-guided, intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) two to eight times faster than is possible with conventional IMRT or helical tomotherapy, according to Varian.
“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.”
According to Richard Popple, Ph.D., assistant professor and RapidArc team leader at UAB, short treatment time is an important part of overall treatment quality. “Our initial pre-clinical testing of RapidArc has verified that sophisticated treatments can be delivered within two minutes with dosimetry that is the same as, or better than, other IMRT techniques.”
During the last week of April, Varian service technicians added the RapidArc technology to the UAB Health System's existing Varian platform for image-guided IMRT.
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 shown that RapidArc matches or exceeds the precision of conventional IMRT systems and spares more of the healthy tissue surrounding the tumor, said the company. Unrelated clinical studies on radiotherapy correlate the ability to spare more healthy tissue with reduced complications and better outcomes.
For more information: www.varian.com