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News

First New Yorkers receive RapidArc radiotherapy treatment

Varian : 10 July, 2008  (Company News)
Two prostate cancer patients became the first people in New York to receive a faster, more comfortable form of accurate radiotherapy in pioneering treatments at Radiation Oncology Associates of New York which will be changing its name to Advanced Radiation Centers of New York in August 2008.
Using RapidArc Radiotherapy technology from Varian Medical Systems, doctors at the clinic are now delivering image-guided intensity-modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT) two to eight times faster than is possible with earlier technologies.

'Our radiation treatment facilities are committed to being on the cutting edge of technology,' said Shawn Zimberg, MD, medical director, Radiation Oncology. 'RapidArc enables us to quickly deliver IMRT treatments that are designed to target tumors and malignancies very precisely while dramatically reducing the exposure of surrounding tissues.'

The two patients, a 65-year-old banker with early stage prostate cancer and a 77-year-old retired attorney with locally advanced prostate cancer, have begun receiving RapidArc treatments that are delivered in less than two minutes.

'The faster these sophisticated treatments are delivered, the more accuracy we can expect, because the patient is less likely to move during a shorter timeframe,' Zimberg explained. 'Studies have shown that the prostate position can shift by up to several millimetres during a long treatment session as neighbouring organs such as the bladder constantly change their volume. By completing each treatment more quickly, we make it less likely that tumour or organ motion will affect the accuracy of our treatments. I expect the speed and precision of RapidArc treatments will benefit a great many patients.'

RapidArc image-guided IMRT treatments are completed in two simple steps. First, clinicians capture a set of high-resolution X-ray images of the targeted tumour and surrounding anatomy and use these to position the patient very accurately for treatment.

'Being able to detect minute changes in tumour position from one day to the next helps to ensure that we target the tumour precisely,' Zimberg said. 'With this technology, we can accomplish the imaging and fine-tune the patient's position in less than two minutes.'

Once the patient has been positioned properly, the RapidArc treatment delivers the prescribed dose in less than two minutes, with a single rotation of the treatment machine around the patient. Earlier forms of image-guided IMRT using fixed beams or helical tomotherapy typically require 10 to 15 minutes or more to complete. Most patients undergo a regimen of daily treatments Monday through Friday for six to eight weeks, depending on the type of cancer.

John Keane, medical physicist at the Radiation Oncology Associates facility in Lake Success, said: 'One of the reasons I find my work so compelling is that I have the opportunity to implement cutting edge technology to help people fight cancer. With RapidArc, I am witnessing a great advancement in medical technology that is further enhancing patient care in the practice.'

'The 65-year-old banker came to us after his research led him to choose a treatment centre that could offer him the most advanced technology available,' Zimberg said. 'The other patient told us his RapidArc treatment was faster and easier than he could ever have expected.'

Dr Zimberg notes that he expects to use RapidArc technology in the treatment of a head and neck cancer patient, as well as a primary brain cancer patient within the next few weeks. 'These patients often have difficulty in a prolonged treatment. I expect that RapidArc will allow them to get through their treatment more comfortably than would have been possible before.'

The American Cancer Society estimates that, in the state of New York this year, there will be 97,130 new cases of cancer, and 10,500 new cases of prostate cancer.
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