Korea's leading university hospital has begun treatments using a new, faster form of radiotherapy that potentially enables doctors to improve outcomes while extending modern care to more patients. A 17-year-old female with cancer in her salivary gland was the first patient in the country to be treated using RapidArc™ technology from Varian Medical Systems.
Clinicians at Ajou University Hospital in Suwon, which treats patients from throughout Korea, carried out the pioneering treatment in less than two minutes with a single arc, or rotation, of the machine around the patient for each fraction, or treatment session. By comparison conventional IMRT (intensity modulated radiotherapy) treatment sessions would have taken 8-15 minutes, according to Dr. Mison Chun, chairperson of the hospital's department of radiation oncology.
"The treatment went extremely well and it was more comfortable for the patient because she had to lie on the couch for considerably less time," said Dr. Chun "Faster treatments mean there is less chance for the patient to move during dose delivery, so RapidArc reduces the possibility of both set-up error and errors due to internal organ motion. Since the completion of this first treatment, we have instigated a RapidArc program for head & neck, brain and prostate cancers at our hospital."
RapidArc delivers a precise and efficient treatment in single or multiple arcs of the treatment machine around the patient and makes it possible to deliver advanced image-guided intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) up to eight times faster than is possible with conventional IMRT. With RapidArc, Varian's Clinac® accelerator can target beams at a tumor while continuously rotating around the patient. Conventional IMRT treatments are slower and more difficult for radiotherapists because they target tumors using a complex sequence of fixed beams from multiple angles.
"RapidArc is a very effective way of delivering advanced radiotherapy treatments to many tumors more quickly while reducing the dose to surrounding healthy tissue," said Dr. Chun. "We have three linear accelerators here and we use them to treat over 100 patients each day, so the new RapidArc-equipped machine has to treat many patients efficiently while performing more advanced treatment techniques."
Ajou University Hospital's department of radiation oncology sees 3,600 cancer patients each year. Such a heavy workload results in mounting waiting lists and Dr. Chun believes RapidArc is a good way to relieve pressure on these waiting lists without compromising the quality of the treatments offered. The hospital has become the first in East Asia to offer RapidArc treatments.
Jimmy Lee, Varian's regional sales manager, says, "Ajou University Hospital is well known for its pioneering approach, routinely using techniques such as IMRT, image-guided radiotherapy, respiratory gating and radiosurgery in order to offer its patients the most modern treatments possible. It can now add the leading volumetric arc therapy technique to this list and this is good news for patients throughout Korea."
Editorial contact: Neil Madle, Varian Medical Systems, +44 7786 526068
About Varian Medical Systems
Varian Medical Systems, Inc., of Palo Alto, California, is the world's leading manufacturer of medical devices and software for treating cancer and other medical conditions with radiotherapy, radiosurgery, proton therapy, and brachytherapy. The company supplies informatics software for managing comprehensive cancer clinics, radiotherapy centers and medical oncology practices. Varian is a premier supplier of tubes and digital detectors for X-ray imaging in medical, scientific, and industrial applications and also supplies X-ray imaging products for cargo screening and industrial inspection. Varian Medical Systems employs approximately 5,100 people who are located at manufacturing sites in North America and Europe and in its 79 sales and support offices around the world. For more information, visit http://www.varian.com/.