Varian Medical Systems (NYSE: VAR), leader in volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) and radiotherapy treatment planning systems, has successfully integrated its Eclipse™ treatment planning system with Elekta linear accelerators to deliver VMAT treatments at Kantonsspital St. Gallen in Switzerland. An 83-year-old patient with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma has become the first patient in the world to be treated using this combination of software and equipment.
"We have been using Eclipse to plan other types of radiotherapy treatments for many years and have very good experience delivering those treatments on our Elekta treatment machines," says Dr. Ludwig Plasswilm, the hospital's chief of radiation oncology. "We wanted to introduce faster volumetric modulated arc treatments in order to serve more patients more effectively.
"Physicists at our department worked on the development of this new approach with Varian, which has demonstrated its commitment to open architecture for clinical systems, and we have now seen successful integration of Eclipse with our treatment machines," said Dr. Plasswilm. "We have now initiated more advanced volumetric treatments and our experience so far is that the integration is very good with a natural workflow. We haven't experienced any problems and are delighted to be the first in the world to integrate these systems for the benefit of our patients."
Kantonsspital St. Gallen, a public hospital which treats 1200 cancer patients from the north-east of Switzerland each year, is equipped with two Elekta Synergy linear accelerators and Varian's ARIA® information management and Eclipse treatment planning software. The department also operates a Tomotherapy machine.
Volumetric modulated arc therapy treatments enable the delivery of precise image-guided IMRT (intensity modulated radiotherapy) faster than conventional IMRT. With volumetric arc treatments, the beam quickly delivers the dose while continuously rotating around the patient. Studies* show that faster treatments allow for greater precision, since there is less chance of patient or tumour movement during treatment delivery.
"Varian remains committed to open hardware and software architecture in radiation oncology," says Rolf Staehelin, Varian's senior director of international marketing. "Our work at St. Gallen is a typical example of Varian's commitment to giving clinicians the tools they need to deliver advanced treatments for their patients."