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El Camino Hospital Media Releases

El Camino Hospital Adds RapidArc Radiotherapy Technology

Mountain View, CA - June 2, 2010 - El Camino Hospital's Center for Advanced Radiotherapy and CyberKnife Radiosurgery has added still another high tech tool to its arsenal of leading edge cancer treatments with its just-installed RapidArc™ radiotherapy technology from Varian Medical Systems. The advanced form of image-guided, intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) is two to eight times faster than conventional IMRT or other treatments.

IMRT is a form of 3D therapy that uses a computer-driven machine that moves around the patient as it delivers radiation. In addition to shaping the beams and aiming them at the tumor from several angles, the radiologist can adjust the intensity of the beams to minimize the dose reaching the most sensitive normal tissues--while delivering an even higher dose to the cancerous areas.

To be effective, the patient must be immobilized throughout an IMRT treatment so the tumor can be precisely targeted. Although many major hospitals and cancer centers are now able to provide IMRT, what differentiates RapidArc™ IMRT is the ability to dramatically shorten each treatment. Using a linear accelerator, RapidArc delivers a complete IMRT treatment with a single rotation of the treatment machine around the patient, focusing the radiation beam precisely.

Not only are the shorter treatments more convenient and comfortable for the patient (less time immobilized), but there is less likelihood of the tumor being displaced due to such normal physiological processes as gas moving through the digestive system or the patient's bladder filling during the treatment. RapidArc treatments are comparable to conventional IMRT in terms of effectiveness.

"RapidArc offers the proven benefits of IMRT--which enables us to shape the radiation around normal structures and thus deliver higher doses to cancerous tissue--in a much faster delivery mode. It's a real win for us and for our patients," says Dr. Robert Sinha, a radiation oncologist at El Camino Hospital. "Tumors can move during longer treatments, due to the natural movement of internal organs. For example, the prostate can shift by several millimeters as the bladder fills, which has the potential to compromise treatment accuracy. In the case of prostate cancer, when a treatment takes only 90 seconds to deliver, we are better able to deliver the dose right where we want it and spare the surrounding healthy tissue."

Dr. Sinha also points out that shorter treatment times with RapidArc reduce the amount of scatter and leakage radiation to the rest of the body, compared to conventional IMRT.

Almost any tumor that would normally be treated with radiation therapy can be treated with RapidArc. Currently, IMRT is being used most extensively to treat cancers of the prostate, thorax, head and neck, and central nervous system. IMRT has also been used in limited situations to treat breast, thyroid, lung, as well as in gastrointestinal, gynecologic malignancies and certain types of sarcomas. The treatment may also be beneficial for treating pediatric malignancies.

"This is one more weapon in our cancer treatment arsenal," says Dr. Sinha. "It is part of our ongoing commitment to offering our patients the most appropriate form of treatment available, based on each patient's unique clinical situation."

El Camino Hospital's new Center for Advanced Radiotherapy and CyberKnife Radiosurgery opened on May 3rd and offers a breadth of treatment options and expertise for treating tumors throughout the body that is unmatched in the Silicon Valley. The Center offers the ultimate in high precision, targeted radiation therapies with the capability to spare healthy tissue, reduce side effects, and in many cases cut treatment from weeks down to days.