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German cancer centre works with Varian to offer advanced radiotherapy treatments

Varian : 02 October, 2007  (New Product)
South German cancer patients are receiving advanced, fast and precise image-guided radiotherapy treatments with the addition of image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT) to a regional hospital’s capabilities.
At Klinikum Passau a Clinac linear accelerator at has been retrofitted with an On-Board Imager accessory from Varian Medical Systems, making it only the second hospital in Germany to undergo such an upgrade.

Since the addition of the robotic On-Board Imager accessory more than a hundred high quality cone-beam CT and kV images have been taken of patients at the time of treatment, enabling doctors to adjust treatments based on the updated images.

Prof Dr Stefan Wachter, chief radiation oncologist at Klinikum Passau, says, “We wanted to be able to offer the kind of advanced treatments that a university hospital would offer. Now, in this rural environment, we can provide treatments that our patients would have had to travel to Munich to receive in the past.”

“The new system runs very well and I am very satisfied with the image quality. We started using the device for prostate treatments and we are also making use of its capabilities for patients with small metastases on the brain. We are now very sure about treating brain lesions with high precision, whereas we would not have had that confidence before.”

“We have had two patients where the cancers are influencing the anatomy of the patient by pulling up the diaphragm. We have been able to re-plan the treatments for these patients based on the cone-beam CT images taken at the time of treatment, whereas this would not have been possible previously.”

Image-guidance using the On-Board Imager has added no more than two minutes to treatment times, enabling the clinic to make use of the device within the standard 10-15 minute treatment slot. The hospital treats up to 80 patients a day on its two linear accelerators.

Dr Wachter said the clinic, which has a single-linac satellite centre at nearby Klinikum Deggendorf, intends to expand its IGRT capabilities in the future, with new protocols planned for extra-cranial stereotactic treatment of lung and liver metastases.

Tim Kowalewski, Varian’s general manager in Germany, said, “Klinikum Passau is a great example of what a hospital can achieve for patients by adding advanced image-guidance to its capabilities.”

The hospital is the second in Germany to add an On-Board Imager to an existing accelerator rather than by acquiring a new OBI-equipped machine. Upgrades can be carried out in five days.
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