Varian Medical Systems said that Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre in Glasgow, a Scotland-based radiotherapy department, has begun treating head & neck cancer patients using its RapidArc technology.

Varian Medical Systems claimed that the advanced RapidArc system, which has been introduced clinically on two of its Clinac medical linear accelerators, delivers precise image-guided IMRT (intensity modulated radiotherapy) up to four times faster than conventional IMRT, which the Beatson introduced in 2005.

David Dodds, clinical lead of radiotherapy, said: “This is a significant advance for one of the busiest cancer centers in the country and provides an opportunity to offer advanced IMRT treatments to more patients. In the past the provision for IMRT has been limited as this sophisticated technique typically takes longer to deliver. RapidArc will allow us to treat much more quickly and as a result more patients will be able to benefit from the technology.

“We are delighted that more patients will gain access to image-guided IMRT treatments thanks to RapidArc. IMRT has become established as an accurate, reliable and efficient means of radiotherapy delivery, allowing optimum radiation doses to be delivered to the tumor while at the same time allowing sparing of surrounding normal tissues. As a result, side-effects from radiation treatment are significantly diminished and tumor control is potentially increased.”

Garry Currie, head of radiotherapy physics at the Beatson, said: “RapidArc was installed on two of the department’s linear accelerators a few weeks ago and was commissioned quickly to allow the benefits of this technology to be made available as soon as possible to patients requiring radiotherapy treatment for head and neck cancer. These treatments will be extended to include other cancers such as prostate and brain in the months ahead.

“The Beatson was the first radiotherapy centre in Scotland to introduce IMRT and we have been seeking new methods to allow more patients to receive the benefits of this highly conformal technology.”