DURBAN, South Africa, April 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Fast RapidArc® radiotherapy treatments for cancer patients have captured the attention and interest of leading clinicians who have begun offering it in Africa. Clinicians from across Africa attended a week-long workshop sponsored here by Varian Medical Systems (NYSE: VAR) where image-guided RapidArc IMRT technology was the focus of discussion.
Doctors and decision makers from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Kenya and Angola gathered at Addington Hospital in Durban, which has treated 250 patients with RapidArc since becoming the first public hospital in Africa to use this technique in 2010.
"Our experience has demonstrated the major benefits of RapidArc compared to conventional radiation therapy in terms of patient satisfaction, treatment delivery and outcomes," says Professor Amo Jordaan, head of radiation oncology at Addington Hospital. "We were delighted to host this high-profile event which introduced RapidArc to many of our colleagues and shared our experiences."
"The oncology load and cancer disease burden here in the KwaZulu Natal province is a microcosm of the disease burden and oncology incidence across Southern Africa," adds Professor Jordaan. "By using RapidArc, our department is able to treat more patients in the specified time, while the treatment is more focused and therefore minimizes the impact on healthy tissue."
The advanced RapidArc system delivers precise image-guided IMRT (intensity modulated radiotherapy) up to four times faster than conventional IMRT. The RapidArc IMRT beam quickly delivers the dose while continuously rotating around the patient, significantly shortening treatment time and thereby enabling clinics to help more cancer patients. Studies indicate that faster treatments allow for greater precision, since there is less chance of patient or tumour movement during treatment delivery.
The workshop included formal lectures by PD Luca Cozzi, head of research at the Oncology Institute of Southern Switzerland and manager of the International Science Circle at Varian Medical Systems, as well as practical RapidArc sessions and attendance at selected patient treatments. The participants also learned about new treatment delivery systems such as Varian's TrueBeam™ platform for radiotherapy and radiosurgery.
One attendee, Dr. Ntokozo Ndlovu of Parirenyatwa Hospital in Harare, Zimbabwe, said, "The RapidArc workshop was an eye opener for me as a current user of Varian equipment looking to refurbish radiotherapy facilities and advance the treatment techniques that we apply today. It has affirmed to us that this is doable in our setting and we would definitely like to introduce RapidArc at our center."
Dr. Alicia Sherriff from Universitas Annex Academic Hospital in Bloemfontein, South Africa, added, "It was fascinating seeing and hearing about the newest technology working in practice. The latest developments in radiotherapy have made me enthusiastic about being a radiation oncologist in these times and optimistic about the possibilities for the future."
"We wanted the delegates to leave Durban with the understanding that RapidArc can be readily implemented with all the added values it brings," says Shirley Murray of Varian's local distributor Tecmed, who organized the event.
Vincent Ronfle, Varian's sales manager for Africa, adds, "The impact of this week was beyond our expectations as most of the guests left with an understanding that RapidArc is a technique which can be implemented immediately in their clinics and that it will offer solutions to their specific needs in an area where patient throughput has been so far impairing their ability to improve the quality of treatments."
Professor Jordaan adds, "Our staff are very enthusiastic and have gained great skill in delivering this treatment over the last 15 months. The workshop highlighted the major advances we have made in patient management thanks to RapidArc, demonstrating its true value and its potential for wide use across Africa."
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, 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 high-energy X-ray devices for cargo screening and non-destructive testing applications. Varian Medical Systems employs approximately 5,900 people who are located at manufacturing sites in North America, Europe, and China and approximately 70 sales and support offices around the world. For more information, visit http://www.varian.com or follow us on Twitter.
SOURCE Varian Medical Systems