Business, oncology  

Varian Medical Systems to equip Genk Cancer Clinic in Belgium

Genk, Belgium. A new radiotherapy centre that will provide patients in the north-east of Belgium with greater access to advanced cancer treatments will be equipped with Varian Medical Systems’ integrated and automated treatment equipment and software. The new centre will offer the latest in highly-targeted radiotherapy treatments, including intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT), image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT) and stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS).

The new department, currently being built in the Ziekenhuis Oost Limburg at Genk and due to take its first patients in April 2007, will operate as part of the Limburg Oncology Centre, a collaboration between the two hospitals in nearby Hasselt and the Ziekenhuis Oost Limburg. It will share medical staff with Hasselt but will be more convenient for nearby patients who need to visit for daily treatments. Both centres will use integrated software to offer patients faster, more automated and more comfortable treatments. The new facility will serve about half the province (about 800,000 people) in the north-east of Limburg and is expected to treat up to 800 patients in the first year.

An order has been placed for two Varian Clinac linear accelerators at the new department in Genk and for a third Varian accelerator that will replace an older machine at Hasselt.

Dr Paul Bulens, medical director at the Limburg Oncology Centre, said, “The key challenge for us is to make the Hasselt and Genk sites effectively one big centre and we needed a supplier who could handle that level of integration. Doctors will travel regularly between the two sites and we want complete integration between the two.”

As well as treatment machines, both sites will have Varian’s ARIA information and image management system and Eclipse treatment planning systems, enabling a rapid and highly integrated flow of patient information and treatment plans across the network.

“The full integration of both sites into one big centre avoids a fractionation into small radiotherapy departments while enabling the latest radiotherapy treatments to be offered,” said Vincent Ronfle, Varian’s regional sales manager. “This order shows that we are able to meet their demanding requirements for modern cancer treatments.” He pointed out that Varian supports a similar network at Wilrijk in Belgium, where treatment machines based in a satellite facility are managed remotely and other manufacturers’ equipment works seamlessly with Varian’s information management system.

Dr Bulens said the third Varian Clinac acquired as part of this project will replace an ageing accelerator at Hasselt as soon as the two machines are installed at Genk. Hasselt’s two other accelerators are due to be replaced over the coming years as the centre seeks to standardize across Limburg province.

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