Varian's new Trilogy technology for image-guided radiosurgery used at Providence Medical Center in Kansas City

Palo Alto 08 April 2005Providence Medical Center in Kansas City has become the first cancer treatment centre in the Central United States to use the new Trilogy system from Varian Medical Systems for image-guided radiosurgery (IGRS), an ultra-precise treatment that uses new, real-time X-ray imaging capabilities to target cancer and neurological lesions. The Providence physicians used the new Trilogy system during its first six weeks of operation to treat six patients with image-guided radiosurgery.


The patients range in age from 40 to 67, and were treated for a broad range of conditions, including brain metastases in a lung cancer and a melanoma cancer patient, acoustic neuroma, arteriovenous malformation, glioblastoma, and and a metastatic lesion in the sternum, which appeared in a patient being treated for squamous cell cancer of the tonsil.

"This state-of-the-art system enables us to treat patients with the most advanced radiotherapy techniques, using the most clinically efficient processes in the world", stated Terry Jett, director of Radiation Oncology and Rehabilitation Services. "It provides the most versatile and highly targeted treatments using image-guided radiation therapy."

"This new technology offers hope and treatment to patients who might not have other options. It helps protect healthy brain or organ tissues. In the case of head and neck tumours, for example, we can target a tumour while preserving the patient's ability to talk and swallow", stated Frank Holladay, M.D., a board-certified neurosurgeon on the Providence Medical Staff.

At the core of Providence's system is Varian's high-powered Trilogy medical linear accelerator, a machine that rotates around the patient to deliver radiation beams from many angles. The system is able to concentrate radiation doses on the tumour while protecting surrounding healthy tissue. To enhance treatment precision, the Trilogy accelerator is equipped with a multi-leaf collimator that shapes beams to match the shape of the tumour, and an On-Board Imager device for fast, accurate, real-time tumour tracking and automated patient positioning.

"The Trilogy system is optimized for delivering image-guided radiotherapy and radiosurgery", stated Dow Wilson, president of Varian's Oncology Systems business. "Its fully-robotic imaging system enables clinicians to position patients for treatment with sub-millimeter accuracy, and to accurately track and adjust for tumor movements at the moment of treatment."

In addition to more conventional approaches to radiotherapy, the Trilogy linear accelerator can be used to deliver radiosurgery, which involves delivering higher doses of radiation to tiny areas over a short period of time. Instead of a patient undergoing invasive surgery, fractionated radiosurgery delivers high-intensity radiation over a limited number of treatment sessions.

Image-guided radiosurgery (IGRS) involves delivering precisely focused, high-energy radiation to a localized area of the brain in a single treatment session. It can be used to treat many types of benign and malignant brain tumours, as well as arteriovenous malformations and trigeminal neuralgia. Radiosurgery has been shown to be beneficial for cancer treatment in other areas of the body, such as in the breast, liver, and pancreas.

"Radiation therapy is used today in more than half of all cancer treatments due to its unique clinical advantages, and it is becoming steadily more effective with new technologies that permit ultra-precise dose delivery", stated Lori Lindstrom, M.D., a board-certified radiation oncologist on the Providence Medical Staff. "With this new system, we have the potential to substantially improve cancer treatment outcomes by doing a better job of protecting healthy tissue while delivering more powerful radiation doses to the tumour."

"Trilogy is a cost-effective, versatile tool that can be used by both neurosurgeons and radiation oncologists in a multitude of ways to meet the individual treatment needs of patients with widely varying conditions", stated Richard Levy, CEO of Varian Medical Systems. "For about half the cost, this machine takes the place of two machines and for the first time makes these advanced treatment techniques affordable for many community hospitals and their patients."

Providence Medical Center is a community hospital, located in western Kansas City, Kansas. The hospital provides a full spectrum of inpatient, outpatient and emergency services and wellness programmes. Providence Medical Center is an affiliate of Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health System, Lenexa, Kansas, and is a sister hospital of Saint John Hospital, located in Leavenworth, Kansas.

Varian Medical Systems Inc. is a manufacturer of integrated cancer therapy systems, which are treating thousands of patients per day. The company is also a premier supplier of X-ray tubes and flat-panel digital subsystems for imaging in medical, scientific, and industrial applications. More news is available in this VMW issue's article Clinicians use 4D image-guided radiotherapy and respiratory gating to treat intestinal cancer.

Leslie Versweyveld

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