ATLANTA, Feb. 2, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The prospect of dramatically increasing radiation therapy treatment speed using dynamic, arc-based radiation therapy is capturing the imagination of Indian clinicians, if Dr. Vivek Mehta's recent experience is any indication. Dr. Mehta, a radiation oncologist at Swedish Cancer Institute (Seattle, Wash., USA) gave three lectures on Elekta VMAT at the 32nd National Annual Conference of the Association of Radiation Oncologists of India Conference (AROICON) Nov. 25-28, 2010, in Patna, India, which drew capacity attendance and provoked vibrant interaction and discussion among participants.
"VMAT is an emerging technique that is coming to India," says Dr. Mehta, director, Center for Advanced Targeted Radiation Therapies at Swedish Cancer Institute. "Due to Swedish's leadership in implementing VMAT, it was appealing to the AROICON committee to have us talk about it to their members."
Dr. Mehta presented results from Swedish Cancer Institute's first 100 patients treated with Elekta VMAT. One presentation was on non-stereotactic VMAT, one covered high-dose, hypofractionated VMAT using a stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) technique for lung tumors, and a third lecture discussed general VMAT use at an invitation-only Elekta symposium.
Many attendees were as interested in how VMAT compared with IMRT as they were about efficiencies of treatment speed.
"Clinicians asked whether VMAT is better than IMRT, in which clinical cases IMRT might be superior to VMAT and what planning challenges VMAT may present," he says. "What made our presentation interesting to the attendees was the actual proof from our center. For the first 100 patients we treated with VMAT we ran a comparison IMRT plan. We could show how we did on conformality, speed and QA, and how many times we ended up using one, two or three arcs and how long each plan took to deliver based on the number of arcs."
Dr. Mehta stressed to the audiences that the first 100 VMAT patients actually represented the first 100 patients considered for VMAT who also were candidates for IMRT. Both VMAT and IMRT plans were developed for these patients and the patient received either VMAT or IMRT based on the superiority of the plan as assessed by the physician.
"Out of those first 100 cases we looked at, 95 patients went on to receive VMAT," Dr, Mehta notes. "The audiences were interested in the reasons why five percent of the patients had IMRT, and we were able to give them various reasons, such as the IMRT plan in a particular case gave a steeper dose fall-off near an organ-at-risk. The 'take-home' message for them was VMAT can replace the bulk of your IMRT and is efficient, but it doesn't completely replace IMRT, which is OK because you still have IMRT."
Another interest in VMAT among Indian clinicians is related to resources, Dr. Mehta observes.
"Ninety-five percent of patients in India pay for cancer treatment, so improving efficiency—treating more patients during a given day—enhances the clinic's financial stability," he says. "A technique such as VMAT SBRT is an enabler for them to treat these patients in a time-efficient manner without the capital outlay of a new machine."
Dr. Mehta's third presentation, which included Swedish Cancer Institute's Elekta VMAT experience, was an Elekta symposium attended by nearly 70 invited physicians.
"The leading Indian physicians who attended the symposium seemed truly engaged and interacted enthusiastically with Dr. Mehta. In these discussions, there was a sense that all concerned were inspired to seek practical solutions that also offered the best possible care for patients," says Rajinder Singh Dhada, VP Strategic Partnerships.
Elekta is a human care company pioneering significant innovations and clinical solutions for treating cancer and brain disorders. The company develops sophisticated, state-of-the-art tools and treatment planning systems for radiation therapy and radiosurgery, as well as workflow enhancing software systems across the spectrum of cancer care.
Stretching the boundaries of science and technology, providing intelligent and resource-efficient solutions that offer confidence to both healthcare providers and patients, Elekta aims to improve, prolong and even save patient lives, making the future possible.
Today, Elekta solutions in oncology and neurosurgery are used in over 5,000 hospitals globally, and every day more than 100,000 patients receive diagnosis, treatment or follow-up with the help of a solution from the Elekta Group.
Elekta employs around 2,500 employees globally. The corporate headquarter is located in Stockholm, Sweden, and the company is listed on the Nordic Exchange under the ticker EKTAb. For more information about Elekta, please visit www.elekta.com.
About Swedish Cancer Institute
The Swedish Cancer Institute (SCI) opened in 1932 as the first dedicated cancer-care center west of the Mississippi. It is the largest and most comprehensive cancer treatment program in the Pacific Northwest, caring for more people with more types of cancer than any other provider in the region. The Institute has a presence on all four of Swedish's hospital campuses – First Hill, Cherry Hill, Ballard and Edmonds – as well as in East King County and at Highline Medical Center in Burien. A true multidisciplinary institute, SCI offers a wide range of advanced cancer-treatment options in chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery – backed by extensive diagnostic capabilities, patient education and support-group services. For more information, visit www.swedish.org/cancer.
About the Center for Advanced Targeted Radiation Therapies at Swedish Cancer Institute
The Center Advanced Targeted Radiation Therapies at Swedish Cancer Institute encompasses the comprehensive and complementary array of advanced and emerging radiation delivery tools available to patients for both approved therapies and clinical research efforts. That includes technologies such as Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy, Image-Guided Radiation Therapy, linear accelerator-based stereotactic radio surgery, the Calypso® 4D Localization System, Xoft Axxent™ Electronic Brachytherapy System, MammoSite® Radiation Therapy System, and the Swedish Radiosurgery Center featuring CyberKnife and Gamma Knife. SCI is also working toward adding the latest generation of proton beam radiotherapy systems in the near future.