MUNICH, Jan. 19 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The Rinecker Proton Therapy Center (RPTC) in Munich has doubled its capacity with the successful commissioning of a second treatment room that will enable it to deliver intensity modulated proton therapy using pencil-beam scanning technology from Varian Medical Systems (NYSE: VAR) of Palo Alto, Calif.
"The commissioning of our second treatment gantry will enable us to double our capacity and we are very pleased to be able to offer advanced proton therapy to twice as many patients," says Dr. Joerg Hauffe, chief executive officer of ProHealth, the center's operating company. "We can now make more efficient use of this life-saving technology by switching the proton beam between rooms so we can treat in one room while we're setting up a patient for treatment in the other room. Before the year is out, we expect to commission three more treatment rooms."
When completed, the Rinecker Proton Therapy Center will be a state-of-the-art proton facility with four gantry rooms and one fixed-beam room, the latter of which will specialize in treating delicate tumors such as small head, neck and eye cancers and tumors close to the spinal cord. The two additional gantry rooms are due to be ready for clinical treatment during 2010.
Unlike conventional X-ray based radiotherapy that utilizes photons and electrons, particle therapy involves delivering heavier proton particles to destroy tumors. Proton therapy enables oncologists to improve dose control and limit exposure to healthy tissue while treating cancer and other indications. As a result, proton technology is moving from research facilities into active cancer treatment clinics such as RPTC.
Dr. Hauffe said RPTC benefits from being able to offer Varian's pencil-beam spot scanning delivery method, which offers distinct performance advantages for more precise dose distribution than is possible with other proton delivery systems. "We believe pencil-beam scanning is the best approach for patients because you can more easily and effectively shape the dose distribution as necessary and lessen exposure to critical organs such as the spinal cord, which is difficult to achieve using the standard scattering proton technique employed by most other proton centers," said Dr. Hauffe.
"Studies show that we are lowering exposure to healthy tissue and making hypo-fractionation more of a reality in radiotherapy treatments," added Dr. Hauffe. Hypo-fractionation involves delivering the prescribed dose in fewer treatment sessions, or fractions, thus reducing the number of times patients have to come for treatment.
More than 80 treatment courses have been concluded at RPTC and several more patients are currently undergoing treatment. The patients have come from Germany and 18 other countries, including Canada, Argentina, the UK and Switzerland. Among these patients have been several children, as proton therapy's ability to limit exposure to healthy tissue is particularly valuable in pediatric treatments.
Lester Boeh, head of Varian's Emerging Businesses, said, "The Rinecker Proton Therapy Center is delivering the most advanced particle treatments available and Varian is proud to be part of this ground-breaking venture."
Editorial contact: Neil Madle, Varian Medical Systems, +44 7786 526068
About Varian Medical Systems
Varian Medical Systems, Inc., of Palo Alto, California, is the world's leading manufacturer of medical devices and software for treating cancer and other medical conditions with radiotherapy, radiosurgery, proton therapy, and brachytherapy. The company supplies informatics software for managing comprehensive cancer clinics, radiotherapy centers and medical oncology practices. Varian is a premier supplier of tubes and digital detectors for X-ray imaging in medical, scientific, and industrial applications and also supplies X-ray imaging products for cargo screening and industrial inspection. Varian Medical Systems employs approximately 5,100 people who are located at manufacturing sites in North America, China, and Europe and in its 79 sales and support offices around the world. For more information, visit http://www.varian.com/
About the Rinecker Proton Therapy Center
The Rinecker Proton Therapy Center in Munich is the first fully certified proton radiation center in Europe, offering a complete hospital setting with five treatment rooms (gantries) for 4000 patients per year. This 150 Million euro facility was established at the initiative of Munich physician Dr. Hans Rinecker PhD and is equipped with some of the most modern and precise proton therapy equipment available worldwide. Sophisticated MRI, CT and PET-CT systems offer precise diagnostics for 3D proton radiation therapy planning. For more information, visit www.rptc.de
SOURCE Varian Medical Systems