Varian adds to treatment planning system with new upgrades
Varian Medical Systems has seen solid growth of its IGRT (image-guided radiation therapy) systems, with 325 systems either installed or in progress around the globe. With this momentum, Varian unveiled new upgrades under the umbrella of its Inspiration clinical oncology management system this week at the Annual American Society of Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ASTRO) meeting in Philadelphia. Varian's Inspiration is anchored by the ARIA oncology information system, through which all the other elements can be interconnected: the Eclipse treatment planning system, the Acuity simulator, the Clinac or Trilogy linear accelerator, and the On-Board Imager device, Varian said.

As part of the Eclipse system, the company has added the ability to modify plans with up-to-the-minute images generated during image-guided radiation therapy. "For the first time, our Eclipse treatment planning system can use up-to-the-minute image information to modify the treatment plan at any point in a patient's course of treatment for cancer," said Corey Zankowski, senior director, software systems marketing. "With this software, doctors can make treatments more precise by adapting a patient's treatment plan as soon as new image data indicates that the tumor size, shape, position, or motion path has changed. This kind of adaptation would have been nearly impossible to achieve in the past."

Varian also has added new motion management capabilities to Eclipse so that clinicians can increase treatment precision for tumors in mobile areas of the body, such as the lung. While clinicians have been able to treat moving tumors using the RPM respiratory gating system to synchronize treatment with a patient's respiratory cycle, the enhancements enable them to use tumor motion data at the outset, during the planning phase of treatment, the company said.

The new Eclipse capabilities will begin shipping to customers in early 2007.

The company highlighted one work-in-progress auto-segmentation Eclipse capability being developed to save time in determining the area to be targeted for treatment, from minutes rather than hours. As with the other advances, this feature is able to dynamically adapt the planning process with the latest image data available.