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Saint Clare's Health System to Offer Cancer Patients Faster, Ultra-Precise Radiotherapy Using RapidArc™ Radiotherapy

October 1, 2009

New Technology from Varian Medical Systems Delivers Faster Image-Guided Intensity-Modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT) to Better Target Tumors While Sparing More Healthy Tissue

Cancer patients in Northwestern New Jersey now have access to more enhanced options for cancer care at Saint Clare’s Health System, with the addition of a fast, precise form of radiotherapy using the advanced technology from Varian Medical Systems. The new RapidArc radiotherapy technology, which delivers highly-precise, image-guided radiotherapy treatments two to eight times faster than conventional radiotherapy, is now operational at the Cancer Care at Saint Clare’s outpatient center in Denville.

“Saint Clare's is excited to add RapidArc to an already robust radiation therapy program here at Saint Clare’s. Our patients will benefit from this major advance that improves dose conformity, while significantly shortening treatment times,” said Medical Director, Donald Cann, MD.

The Saint Clare’s Health System’s RapidArc technology will deliver image-guided IMRT (intensity-modulated radiation therapy) very quickly, often with a single rotation of the treatment machine around the patient. “RapidArc is much easier on the patient,” says Dr. Cann. “It’s hard for people to hold still for long periods of time, but patient movement can compromise the accuracy of a treatment.  By delivering doses more quickly, we can simultaneously improve the quality of care and make our patients more comfortable.”

RapidArc treatments will be delivered using a medical linear accelerator from Varian Medical Systems, outfitted with an On-Board Imager® kV imaging system for generating and using images to guide patient placement and treatment delivery. The linear accelerator rotates around the patient to deliver the radiation treatments from nearly any angle. 

During a RapidArc treatment, the radiation is shaped and reshaped as it is continuously delivered from virtually every angle in a 360-degree revolution around the patient. The beam shaping will be accomplished using an important accessory called a multi-leaf collimator (MLC), a device with 120 computer-controlled mechanical “leaves” or “fingers” that can move to create apertures of different shapes and sizes. During a RapidArc treatment, specialized software varies three elements of the radition treatment simultaneously: the speed of rotation around the patient, the shape of the MLC aperture, and the dose delivery rate.

“By reducing the time it takes to deliver IMRT and other precise forms of radiation therapy, RapidArc has the potential to improve the quality of care and of patient comfort for many types of cancer, while making radiation oncology a more affordable treatment.  That is a huge win for everybody,” says radiation oncologist, Dr. Timothy Chen. 

The American Cancer Society estimates that, in the State of New Jersey, there are almost 50,000 new cancer patients diagnosed every year.

Cancer Care at Saint Clare’s, fully accredited, with commendation, by the The American College of Surgeon's Commission on Cancer, is a comprehensive oncology program offering a full complement of screening, diagnostic, and treatment services. Utilizing the most advanced screening and diagnostic tools, including PET/CT and digital mammography; the most current treatment technologies, including TomoTherapy® Hi-Art, image guided radio therapy, Mammosite, and robotic surgery; as well as the most advanced chemotherapy and access to clinical trials.

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