Technology | September 12, 2014

Varian Treatment Planning Support for Siemens mARC Treatments to be Highlighted at ASTRO 2014

Siemens' Magnetom Skyra 3T MRI system.

September 12, 2014 — Varian Medical Systems and Siemens Healthcare will showcase a variety of solutions that bring together Siemens' diagnostic imaging technologies with Varian's advanced therapeutic systems for treating cancer with image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT), radiosurgery, proton therapy and brachytherapy at the 55th annual meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO).

As part of their global strategic partnership, the two companies will showcase new capabilities within Varian's Eclipse treatment planning software that can now enable delivery of modulated arc (mARC) treatments using Siemens’ existing medical linear accelerators (linacs). mARC radiotherapy is Siemens' approach to volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT), a highly efficient method of delivering a precisely-sculpted dose to a targeted tumor.*

"Over the years of our partnership, Varian and Siemens have worked to create seamless connectivity between our two companies' solutions," said Kolleen Kennedy, president of Varian's Oncology Systems business. "This development marks an important new milestone in our mutual cooperation and demonstrates our commitment to the community of Siemens technology users."

In previous years of the partnership, the two companies focused on creating Varian Exchange, an interface that makes it possible to use Varian's Aria oncology information system (OIS) in treatment centers using Siemens linacs. This interface has now been successfully deployed in 11 treatment centers in the United States and around the world, and is slated to be installed in 16 more. Kiel University Hospital in Germany was the first site in the world to use this interface to connect the Aria system from Varian to Siemens Artiste accelerators.

"Prior to our having this connectivity, DICOM-based export of information between systems was slow and there were clinical restrictions that resulted," said chief medical physicist Frank-André Siebert, Ph.D. "The whole patient workflow was hard to follow and every minor change needed a completely new treatment plan, which was very time-consuming."

Siebert said the workflow is much smoother with Eclipse and Aria fully connected to the treatment machines. "It's much easier and faster to work with just one software system rather than two," he said. "Two systems need more care than one and are more expensive to service."

In a separate booth adjacent to the Varian exhibit, Siemens also plans to showcase new diagnostic imaging technologies that have been optimized for use in radiation oncology:

  • A dual-room Somatom computed tomography (CT) sliding gantry solution, where one CT gantry can be used in either of two adjacent rooms. With this configuration, one room could be used for CT simulation while the other is dedicated to image-guided brachytherapy. This arrangement could allow clinicians to use the CT scanner for treatment simulation and other imaging purposes when it is not needed to guide brachytherapy procedures.
  • A new, comprehensive Magnetom – RT Pro edition package for Siemens' magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) systems, which include the 70 cm open bore Magnetom Aera (1.5T) and the Magnetom Skyra (3T) system. This package facilitates use of MRI scanning in the radiation oncology setting. MRI scans make it possible to differentiate soft tissue very clearly and without the use of ionizing radiation. They are often used to enhance the quality and precision of a radiotherapy treatment plan.

The Siemens Artiste solution with mARC and with Varian's Aria OIS (version 13 and above) requires 510(k) clearance, and the products/features mentioned here are not commercially available in all countries. Due to regulatory reasons their future availability cannot be guaranteed.

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