Varian to supply 65 radiotherapy systems for England's cancer services upgrade

1 June 2006

Crawley, England. Varian Medical Systems has been selected to supply several hospitals in England with radiotherapy treatment machines and simulators in the latest wave of the UK government’s capital investment program for upgrading the quality of cancer treatments.

The latest Varian Clinac iX series accelerators machines that deliver radiotherapy will be installed at leading radiotherapy centres in the Royal Free (London), Ipswich and Maidstone in Wave 9 of the UK Government's Cancer Plan. These machines will be equipped with Varian's On-Board Imager accessory to enable the hospitals to carry out more targeted treatments using Image Guided Radiotherapy (IGRT). Additionally Varian will be equipping an entirely new radiotherapy centre at Chelmsford in Essex with a complete suite of Varian’s radiotherapy products including a Clinac iX, the ARIA information and image management system and Eclipse treatment planning software.

Also as part of Wave 9, Varian’s Acuity X-ray imaging device for simulating, verifying and planning radiotherapy treatments will be installed at centres in Mount Vernon (London), Exeter, Carlisle, Lincoln and Stoke. Manufactured in Crawley, England and installed in over 30 countries worldwide, the Acuity system generates high-quality digital images to support all forms of radiotherapy, including state-of-the-art treatments such as IGRT. The Acuity device can also be used with Varian’s unique respiratory gating system to plan more precise treatments in which beam delivery times are coordinated with tumour motion caused by patients’ natural breathing cycles. At Carlisle, Varian will also be supplying brachytherapy equipment that enables clinicians to place radiation sources such as seeds directly within tumours.

Over the last three years, the UK National Health Service's Purchasing and Supply Agency (NHS PASA) has announced major investments in radiotherapy equipment in a series of waves. A total of 101 new linear accelerators have been acquired as part of the Cancer Plan and Varian has been selected to provide 65 of them two-thirds of all machines ordered.

“We already have a Varian linear accelerator and our people have been very happy with its performance and reliability, and matching and integrating our existing equipment is an important factor for us,” says Stephen Duck, head of radiation physics at London’s Royal Free Hospital. “We’re very keen to introduce image-guided treatments and we feel the On-Board Imager is an exciting step forward for our staff and our patients.”

Once the new machines are installed, the oncology department at Royal Free Hospital plans to begin developing treatments using intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), a new treatment that enables clinicians to increase doses delivered to the tumour while protecting surrounding healthy tissues. The new treatment machines will be equipped to provide state-of-the-art care with 120-leaf multileaf collimators digital devices that shape the beam of radiation to conform to the contours of the tumor. They will also have the latest in portal imaging technology for helping to ensure that treatments are delivered accurately.

David Scott, Varian’s UK sales manager, says, “This latest wave of the government’s Capital Investment Programme demonstrates again that the UK radiotherapy community recognises Varian's reliability and long term development strategy as well as our ability to deliver practical leading edge technology to enable the adoption of advanced techniques such as IMRT, IGRT and Adaptive Radiotherapy in today’s high pressure clinical environment.”

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