Varian RapidArc Technology Used with Novalis Tx System for First Time Outside US to Treat Head


Varian RapidArc Technology Used with Novalis Tx System for First Time Outside U.S. to Treat Head and Neck Cancer Patient

A 51-year old female cancer patient from Switzerland has become the first patient outside the U.S. to be treated with RapidArc™ radiotherapy technology from Varian Medical Systems on a Novalis Tx™ platform for radiosurgery and radiotherapy.

Doctors at Inselspital, the Bern University Hospital, used the Novalis Tx platform from Varian and BrainLAB to treat a patient suffering simultaneous skin cancer of the nose and an aggressive nasopharyngeal cancer with image-guided IMRT (intensity modulated radiotherapy). The treatment was 'very satisfactory' and compared favourably with conventional treatment techniques, according to Professor Daniel M. Aebersold, chairman of radiation oncology, who said the patient is responding well to the treatment.

Rather than targeting tumors with radiation beams from fixed angles, the Novalis Tx unit with RapidArc capability rotates continuously around the patient performing radiotherapy or radiosurgery several times faster than is possible with conventional techniques.

"Our first case was particularly challenging due to the fact that two distinct tumor regions were to be treated using different dose prescriptions," said Professor Aebersold. "The treatment was very quick and we were very impressed by the excellent conformity and good sparing of organs at risk compared to standard IMRT."

"By delivering advanced RapidArc treatments on a gold standard platform such as a Novalis Tx, we were able to combine speed with extremely high precision, to minimize the possibility of movement during treatment, which is particularly important bearing in mind the larger doses we are using."

In summer 2008, Inselspital became the first hospital outside the U.S. to install a Novalis Tx and treatments began in the autumn. Professor Aebersold and his team now plan to explore further stereotactic radiosurgery and stereotactic body radiotherapy treatments, along with hypo-fractionation for fewer treatment sessions as well as techniques and treatments such as partial breast irradiation and frameless treatment of arteriovenous malformations.

Novalis Tx features very high dose delivery rates, which contributes to shorter treatment times. It also offers dynamic fine beam shaping and non-invasive, precise frameless patient positioning for rapid and more comfortable treatments, and allows multiple beam energies of up to 18 million volts for treating deep-seated tumors.

The Novalis Tx platform includes an On-Board Imager™ device for pinpointing the tumor and positioning the patient with millimeter precision. The platform's ExacTrac* room-based image-guidance system provides continual imaging during treatment to detect movement and support robotic adjustments in patient positioning. This enhances protection of surrounding healthy tissues while enabling clinicians to concentrate higher, more effective doses on tumors.

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 60 sales and support offices around the world. For more information, visit