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North Shore Radiation Therapy begins treating cancers with Rapid Arc radiotherapy

Varian : 09 October, 2008  (Application Story)
North Shore Radiation Therapy in Huntington, New York, USA, has started treating cancer patients with Rapid Arc radiotherapy technology, a fast, precise form of treatment using advanced technology from Varian Medical Systems.
The new Rapid Arc treatment is two to eight times faster than conventional forms of radiotherapy. The system's precision can make a significant difference in the patient’s outcome. The IMRT treatment, which takes about 90 seconds, is delivered significantly faster than other regional facilities where treatment time can last 20 minutes or longer. Reducing this time means treatment can be delivered before the patient becomes uncomfortable and potentially moves.

“Rapid Arc makes it possible for us deliver highly-precise intensity-modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT) treatments quickly,” said Richard Byrnes MD, medical director. “These treatments target tumours accurately while sparing the surrounding healthy tissues. Because they’re fast, Rapid Arc treatments are also easier on the patient. It is hard for people to hold still for long periods of time. By delivering doses more quickly, we can simultaneously improve the quality of care and make our patients more comfortable.”

North Shore Radiation Therapy’s Rapid Arc Radiotherapy treatment is delivered with just a single rotation of the treatment machine around the patient. During that rotation, the treatment beam is continually shaped and reshaped according to the size, contour and position of the tumor within the body.

The beam shaping is accomplished using a beam-shaping device called a multi-leaf collimator (MLC). This device has 120 computer-controlled mechanical ‘leaves’ or ‘fingers’ that move to create apertures of different shapes and sizes. During a Rapid Arc treatment, specialized software algorithms vary three parameters simultaneously: the speed of rotation around the patient, the shape of the MLC aperture, and the dose delivery rate.

“We’re very pleased to be able to offer patients this exciting new treatment option,” said Jeffrey Musmacher, chief operating officer. “Varian's Rapid Arc technology is enabling us to target some types of cancer very accurately while sparing healthy tissue.”
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