Varian introduces fast and precise brachytherapy planning system
10 June 2009
Varian Medical Systems has introduced a significantly more accurate way of calculating the dosimetry of cancer treatments than current standard methods. Varian's BrachyVision Acuros enables clinicians to rapidly calculate patient doses for brachytherapy treatments (a form of radiotherapy) with an extremely high level of accuracy.
“This is a quantum leap forward in terms of accuracy with timeframes that were previously thought unimaginable,” says Sophie Wetherall, Varian BrachyTherapy software product manager. “BrachyVision Acuros offers an improvement in dose calculation that will help clinicians make better decisions about dose to their patients and further their knowledge to make treatments more accurate.”
Dose levels for brachytherapy have generally been calculated as if the sources are surrounded by water, whereas in reality a patient’s anatomy contains many different materials such as bone, lung, tissue and air, as well as additional materials that are often present from inserted applicators.
In the past the only way to account for this was using Monte Carlo calculation techniques, something that was only available as a research tool. Now, for the first time in routine clinical brachytherapy, BrachyVision Acuros is able to account for the dose effects from these variations.
“BrachyVision Acuros calculation times tend to average between three and eight minutes depending on the applicator used,” adds Sophie Wetherall. “By comparison, the same calculations could take hours or days using the standard Monte Carlo method.”
Acuros, developed by Transpire Inc., is an optimized, radiotherapy-specific rewrite of the software product Attila, and Varian is working exclusively with Transpire to bring the benefits of this fast and precise calculation method to the radiation oncology field. In so doing, Varian becomes the only brachytherapy supplier with this capability in a commercially available product.
BrachyVision Acuros, which uses a technique best described as a ‘Grid-Based Boltzmann Solver’ (GBBS), is the most significant additional feature of Varian’s latest brachytherapy treatment planning software offering, BrachyVision 8.8.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with Varian Medical Systems in introducing the Acuros technology to the clinic,” says Gregory Failla, chief executive officer of Transpire, Inc. “Varian’s leading position in the worldwide radiation oncology market ensures that the maximum number of patients will benefit from the improved treatment quality made possible by BrachyVision Acuros.”
Todd Wareing, Transpire’s chief technology officer, adds, “The release of BrachyVision Acuros marks the culmination of decades of research, first at Los Alamos National Laboratory and then at Transpire, in the development of rapid and accurate alternatives to traditional Monte Carlo based methods.”
Brachytherapy is a very well established form of radiotherapy which is used routinely to treat a wide range of cancers, including gynaecological, prostate, head & neck, skin and lung. It is often delivered in combination with external beam radiotherapy.
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