Ghent University Hospital in Belgium has carried out its first treatment using the new RapidArc radiotherapy technology from Varian Medical Systems (VAR). A 56 year old male rectal carcinoma patient was treated in just 75 seconds, over four times faster than possible using conventional fixed-beam treatments, said VAR.

The company said that RapidArc delivers a volumetric intensity-modulated radiation therapy treatment in a single or multiple arcs of the treatment machine around the patient, and makes it possible to deliver advanced image-guided IMRT two to eight times faster than is possible with conventional IMRT.

Marc van Eijkeren, professor and head of department of Radiation Oncology at Ghent University Hospital, said: “This treatment would have taken more than five minutes using conventional intensity-modulated radiotherapy and such time saving is important both for the wellbeing of the patient and the efficiency of the hospital.

“With RapidArc, that will no longer be a problem as we will be able to offer advanced conformal treatments to more patients while reducing our treatment slot times. The patient’s treatment involved treating the rectum, pelvis and lymph nodes in a single arc or revolution of the Clinac iX medical linear accelerator will now be carried out using the RapidArc technique and the team at Ghent also plans to begin using RapidArc for other cancers in the pelvic region.”

Vincent Ronfle, regional sales manager at Varian, said: “Ghent University Hospital is unique in its long experience in volumetric intensity modulated arc treatments and its adoption of RapidArc as the best solution for this patient and others is a significant step forward. Such milestones are helpful in understanding the present and future applications of this technology in our efforts to improve treatments for patients.”