Since December 2008, Dr. Barbara Häussler and Dr. Heinrich Schorer have used the new radiosurgery platform to treat 90 patients with a broad variety of indications, e.g., breast, prostate, lung, esophagus and brain tumours and metastases.
"The treatments with Novalis Tx are non-invasive, painless and can usually be delivered in 10 to 20 minutes", stated Dr. Schorer, radiation oncologist at the clinic. "Patients can receive high-precision frameless treatment with a mask, instead of the headframe that was used before."
The Novalis Tx platform incorporates advanced imaging, treatment planning, and treatment delivery technologies from BrainLAB and Varian Medical Systems, enabling doctors to carry out ultra-precise image-guided radiosurgery procedures quickly and safely. The powerful Novalis Tx platform enables the clinic to treat approximately 50 patients per day. The high precision allows for elevated radiation doses to be administered.
The co-operation between the radiotherapy clinic and Munich-Bogenhausen Hospital is an excellent example of a public-private partnership; the privately owned clinic receives the majority of its patients from the municipal hospital. Before, these patients had to be sent to other hospitals. Reinhard Fuß, managing director of the Städtisches Klinikum München GmbH (Municipal Hospitals Munich) commented: "Our hospital group is the largest provider of oncology-related treatments in Munich. It is a pleasure that we can extend our treatment spectrum with a modern radiotherapy centre at Bogenhausen. The new radiosurgery system is especially suited for the broad range of specialized treatments offered at the hospital, e.g., neurosurgery and pneumology."
"The clinic's first few months have been very positive", stated Dr. Barbara Häussler. "Novalis Tx offers us unparalleled image guidance tools and treatment-beam-sculpting capabilities, so we can achieve the precise level of targeting required to protect the patient's healthy tissue during a radiosurgery procedure. The seamless co-operation with the hospital's specialist departments allows us to develop a tailored treatment plan for each patient without losing time. This includes the combination of radio- and chemotherapy, as well as surgery and radiotherapy. We can also treat patients from outside the hospital without delay."
Novalis Tx from Varian Medical Systems and BrainLAB AG combines a powerful linear accelerator, which rotates around the patient to deliver treatment beams from virtually any angle with a set of powerful image guidance and motion management tools that guide patient set-up and positioning, and monitor motion during treatment. A high-definition multi-leaf collimator shapes the treatment beam so it matches the shape of the tumour from every angle. Novalis Tx can be used to deliver frameless radiosurgery treatments, a more patient-friendly alternative to other techniques that require immobilization with a head ring that attaches to the skull.
To ensure precise treatments, Novalis Tx incorporates three imaging systems. "One provides us with information about the precise location and shape of the tumour prior to treatment and the other tracks motion, during treatment, so we can adjust our targeting if the patient shifts by even a few millimeters. The third enables us to verify treatment accuracy" stated the doctors.
Dr. Heinrich Schorer and Dr. Barbara Häussler founded the radiotherapy clinic at the hospital Munich-Harlaching in April 2004. It was the first spin-off of a medical department of a Munich municipal hospital. The successful co-operation with the hospital soon led to a further expansion. Since November 2006, the clinic has been offering regular cancer consultation hours at the hospital Munich-Neuperlach. Simultaneously, planning started for a new clinic at the hospital Munich-Bogenhausen that began treatments in December 2008.
Dr. Häussler and Dr. Schorer privately invested in the construction of a clinic with bunker on the hospital's premises, as the hospital had no radiotherapy facility. The medical goal of the two radiotherapists has always been to use cutting-edge technology in order to provide patients with a maximum of safety and to achieve optimal clinical results. For this reason they chose the new Novalis Tx.
The radiation oncologists Dr. Heinrich Schorer and Dr. Barbara Häussler are members of the tumour centre Munich-Harlaching and of the tumour boards Munich-Bogenhausen and Neuperlach, where surgeons, radiologists, gynaecologists, haematologists, oncologists, neurosurgeons, neurologists, pathologists and urologists work closely together. Patients benefit from a broad interdisciplinary expertise.
As for BrainLAB, the company has become the exclusive vendor for developing and supporting computer-assisted surgical technologies for Smith & Nephew's high performance hip and knee implants.
Starting in March 2009, Munich-based BrainLAB will begin work integrating the Smith & Nephew portfolio of instruments, implants and pre-existing navigation technology into their proprietary systems. BrainLAB's expertise and leading market share will extend the success of Smith & Nephew in this arena, building on the innovations introduced within the implant maker's PiGALILEO system.
For instance, the exclusive PiGALILEO ACCULIGN motorized positioning guide will be a central component of future development, and will remain exclusive to Smith & Nephew implant-specific applications.
"Relying exclusively on navigation from BrainLAB, the market and technology leader for computer assisted surgery, Smith & Nephew can focus more of our resources on our core business - the design, development, marketing and sale of orthopaedic implants", stated Joseph DeVivo, president of Smith & Nephew Orthopaedics. "This supports our strategy to be the preferred brand of active patients while partnering with health care professionals to deliver innovative hip, knee and trauma portfolios."
Under the agreement, Smith & Nephew will provide marketing, sales support, training, and post-installation clinical support, while BrainLAB will execute sales of the navigation equipment, as well as applications training and service. Smith & Nephew will continue to support its base of existing computer-navigation customers who use its PiGALILEO and AchieveCAS systems.
This is not the first agreement between the two companies. Since 2003, BrainLAB has introduced applications globally that accommodate Smith & Nephew implants, though not as part of an exclusive development deal. BrainLAB will continue its open platform strategy supporting the orthopaedic market.
"Our expanded relationship with Smith & Nephew and their expertise in the development of high performance knee and hip implants strengthens our ability to provide smarter and more efficient computer-assisted surgery solutions that improve patient outcomes", stated Marc Mackey, Global Product Line Director, BrainLAB Orthopaedics. "Together, we will work to meet and exceed objectives for our partnership and respective businesses."
More company news is available in the VMW April 2007 article New functional MRI technology making brain tumour surgery safer.