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IOSI in Switzerland begin clinical treatments using Varian's RapidArc technology

Varian : 17 September, 2008  (Application Story)
Doctors at IOSI in Switzerland have carried out the country's first clinical treatments using RapidArc technology from Varian Medical Systems.
Professor Franco Cavalli, president of the UICC (International Union Against Cancer), symbolically pushed the 'beam-on' button to mark the occasion as the first of two anal canal cancer patients became the first person in the country to benefit from this advanced form of intensity-modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT).

Dr Antonella Fogliata, head of medical physics at the Istituto Oncologico della Svizzera Italiana (IOSI) in Bellinzona, said, 'Both treatments were very fast and smooth and took about seventy seconds to deliver. Previous comparable IMRT treatments would have taken about twenty minutes so there are some real benefits to using RapidArc, especially with regards to the comfort of the patient. We think it will make a real difference to cancer patients, particularly those with tumours in the pelvic region.'

Clinicians delivered the final boost of each patient's scheduled Radiotherapy course using RapidArc. They are believed to be the first anal canal cancer patients in the world to be treated using the fast and efficient new technology, which was introduced by Varian earlier this year.

Professor Cavalli, medical director of the hospital and a globally known medical oncologist, said, 'It was a tremendous pleasure to be involved and I want to congratulate the team on a fantastic job.'

IOSI, a comprehensive cancer centre in the region of Ticino, treats cancer patients using two linear accelerators. The hospital has a history of pioneering advanced Radiotherapy techniques, having been the first in Switzerland to treat using IMRT in 2001. IOSI has become the first non-university hospital in Europe to implement clinical Varian RapidArc treatments. Luca Cozzi, PD, research co-ordinator at IOSI and co-ordinator of Varian's RapidArc Council of pioneering hospitals, was instrumental in this landmark being achieved.

Clinician Dr Alessandra Franzetti Pellanda said, 'The first patients fully realised the relevance of this innovation and were proud to be asked to start this new era of radiation oncology at IOSI. They see the RapidArc project as a clear message of commitment of the clinic towards their daily needs and their future.'

'The quality of these treatments gives us confidence that most of the pelvic area will benefit from the use of RapidArc,' Pellanda added. 'We will also investigate other sites like breast with concomitant integrated boost, oesophagus and the known sites like head and neck and base of the skull where colleagues from other centres are already active.'

RapidArc delivers a volumetric intensity-modulated radiation therapy treatment in a single or multiple arcs of the treatment machine around the patient and makes it possible to deliver advanced image-guided IMRT two to eight times faster than is possible with conventional IMRT. Treatment planning analyses show that Varian's RapidArc matches or exceeds the precision of conventional IMRT systems and spares more of the healthy tissue surrounding the tumour. Unrelated clinical studies on Radiotherapy correlate the ability to spare more healthy tissue with reduced complications and better outcomes.

'RapidArc extends the versatility of Varian's image-guided Radiotherapy system, adding volumetric arc therapy to other advanced capabilities including fixed-beam IMRT and stereotactic treatments,' said Rolf Staehelin, Varian's European marketing director. 'By outfitting their treatment machine with this new capability, clinicians such as those at IOSI will be able to offer cancer patients an optimized treatment according to each patient's specific needs.'
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