Radiotherapy Department in Bergen makes smooth transition to total Varian system and offers more targeted treatments for cancer patients

Bergen 02 August 2005A cancer clinic in Norway is among the first in Scandinavia to merge hardware and software systems to provide an entirely integrated radiotherapy department to improve efficiency and effectiveness in fighting cancer. As part of this major upgrade, Haukeland University Hospital in Bergen has acquired an On-Board Imager device from Varian Medical Systems, enabling its clinicians to carry out more targeted treatments.


The hospital has selected Varian as the total solution provider, installing linear accelerators and a simulator from the market leading radiation therapy equipment supplier along with treatment planning and information management software systems. The entire radiotherapy department is now automated, integrated and fully networked.

The department has also acquired an On-Board Imager, enabling the clinicians to utilize image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT) for the first time. Using this comprehensive new system, doctors can generate radiographic, fluoroscopic and 3D volumetric X-ray images of the patient's tumour and compare them with diagnostic reference images from the treatment plan to ensure that the patient's tumour is exactly aligned with the beam immediately prior to treatment. This enables radiographers to verify the tumour location while the patient is in the treatment position, and automatically move the treatment couch to the correct position before delivering the daily treatment.

Anfinn Mehus, the department's chief physicist, stated: "We wanted a way to treat our patients more precisely and effectively as well as more quickly and comfortably, and this new automated, fully integrated network which includes one machine with the world's most advanced imaging capability, makes that possible. This project has been a great success and our people are very positive about it. The involvement of the employees in the selection process as well as extensive training has been vital to the success of this undertaking."

The hospital's department of oncology and medical physics decided two years ago to migrate to a single-vendor solution that would ensure optimum efficiency and the latest technology in delivery machines, imaging equipment and software systems. Staff from all relevant departments took part in the evaluation process and Varian was selected as the vendor of choice.

As a result, all Varian Clinac linear accelerators were transferred to a VARiS Vision oncology information system whilst the former treatment planning system has been replaced in favour of Varian's Eclipse package.

"The department transferred from a cumbersome analogue/digital world to a streamlined, fully digital radiotherapy department", added Anfinn Mehus. "All the systems worked without a hitch from day one and all our groups have seen a vast improvement with the transition of the new system. In particular, time consuming daily tasks such as manual adjustments, scanning and transferring of data and images between systems has now been completely eliminated."

Varian's Eclipse treatment planning system provides doctors with three-dimensional (3D) image viewing, virtual simulation, radiation dosage calculation and verification and other tools for generating treatment plans for the patient. The company's Helios software module utilizes a technique known as inverse planning to enable the clinician to rapidly develop optimal Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) treatment plans based on a desired radiation dose outcome to the tumour and surrounding tissue.

The VARiS Vision information and image management software system records and verifies treatment procedures carried out on the linear accelerator, performs patient charting and manages all patient information and the related medical images.

Varian Medical Systems Inc. of Palo Alto, California is a supplier of equipment and software for treating cancer. The company is also a premier supplier of components including X-ray tubes and flat-panel detectors for medical, scientific, and industrial imaging. Varian Medical Systems employs approximately 3280 people who are located at manufacturing sites in North America and Europe and in its 55 sales and support offices around the world.

The company operates manufacturing and engineering centres in Crawley, England; Helsinki, Finland; and Baden, Switzerland and has headquarters for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) based in Zug, Switzerland. More company news is available in the VMW May 2005 article Varian's new Trilogy technology for image-guided radiosurgery used at Providence Medical Center in Kansas City.

Leslie Versweyveld

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