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New range of HDR afterloaders to optimise brachytherapy treatments

Varian : 16 October, 2007  (New Product)
Varian Medical Systems has introduced an advanced range of afterloaders that simplify HDR (high dose rate) brachytherapy delivery and optimise treatment of cancer patients.
At the heart of the new range of iX afterloaders is new Windows based control software, common to both the VariSource iX and GammaMedplus iX afterloaders, the computer controlled devices used for delivering the radiation sources.

The new software integrates seamlessly with Varian's BrachyVision treatment planning system. The new iX systems are now in operation at a number of sites and are currently being shipped to customers.

'We have introduced a world-class product with a console that integrates with all our brachytherapy delivery products and software, making it easier to use and more straightforward to plan treatments,' says William Hyatt, head of Varian's brachytherapy business. 'It is a major leap forward in brachytherapy treatment delivery.

'We recognise the unique challenges of delivering High Dose Rate treatments. Time pressure is high and the importance of treating quickly and precisely is paramount. That is why we've worked with customers, engineers and software developers to produce an Afterloader Control interface that is both intuitive and simple to use.'

He said the product's human interface was developed in conjunction with IDEO, a leading international industrial design company

Dr Peter Niehoff, brachytherapy consultant at University Hospital Kiel, in Germany - the first hospital in the world to treat patients using the new system - says, 'The iX has really improved the situation for us and our patients, as it is much more logical and gives you a better overview of the treatment's status.'

Niehoff said the iX system made it easier for his team, who mainly use brachytherapy to treat prostate and gynaecological cancer, to make alterations to the treatment plan once treatment is underway and program the afterloaders to make these changes.

'If you deliver the first fraction and then need to change the plan, it's vital that you can easily access this information,' said Niehoff. 'Some of these treatments are extremely complex - just recently we did an interstitial chest well treatment involving 16 channels and 300 dwell positions - so anything that makes alterations more straightforward is extremely valuable.'

Dr Peter Hoskin, head of brachytherapy at Mount Vernon Hospital in London, UK, adds, 'The iX incorporates user security that improves the integrity of the treatment procedure. The treatment history is stored in a more robust fashion - indeed the system as a whole is more robust and better engineered. The iX has been well received by both physicists and radiographers.'

From logging on to the system to treatment delivery, the new iX console software walks the operator through the process one step at a time, presenting information in a controlled and logical manner to ensure no detail is overlooked.

The iX range of afterloaders will be officially introduced at the annual ASTRO (American Society of Therapeutic Radiation Oncologists) exhibition in Los Angeles, USA, on October 29, 2007.
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