On October 28, clinicians at Evangelische Kliniken Gelsenkirchen (Gelsenkirchen, Germany) launched a new era of radiation therapy speed and accuracy with their first Versa HD™ case, a 72-year-old female patient with advanced (metastatic) cancer. Because the patient had received her first few fractions on the clinic's existing linear accelerator, Evangelische Kliniken doctors were able to verify that her Versa HD treatments were faster and more accurate, and provided more protection to surrounding healthy organs.

"This was a seven-field, 56-segment IMRT treatment, and what we found was that – in comparison with our other system – Elekta's Versa HD afforded better dose conformance to the target and enhanced avoidance of critical structures, such as the small bowel, kidneys, rectum and bladder," says Razvan Galalae, MD, PhD, Chief Physician at Evangelische Kliniken.

In the ensuing three weeks, Evangelische Kliniken put 15 additional patients on the Versa HD schedule, reinforcing the impact that the system has had on radiotherapy speed and accuracy.

While Dr. Galalae attributes these initial observations to Agility™, the Elekta system's advanced, high-speed beam-shaping multileaf collimator (MLC), Agility is just one major feature of Versa HD. Evangelische Kliniken clinicians are anticipating even greater gains in beam delivery speed with the system's High Dose Rate mode.

"By the middle of December, we will begin to perform VMAT with Versa HD, then add High Dose Rate mode," he says. "At that point, we will be able to treat a wide variety of indications – including head-and-neck tumors and prostate cancer – with both high conformality as well as significant increases in delivery speed. Eventually, we will add stereotactic techniques with implanted seeds for lung and prostate cancer."

As the clinic enters its second month with Versa HD, Dr. Galalae predicts that patient volume will rise to 30 to 35 patients per day by the end of December.

"That's our intermediate goal," he says. "Ultimately, we will reach about 50 patients per day. We think Versa HD is a really wonderful linac, and we're happy we made this decision over the other systems we evaluated. Our expectations have been met with our Versa HD system, which is among the first installed in Germany."

Versa HD is not for sale or distribution in all markets.