by Robert Garment
, Executive Editor | September 18, 2014
At the recently concluded ASTRO 2014, Varian Medical Systems and Siemens Healthcare, as part of their global strategic partnership, presented an array of solutions that create a bridge between Siemens' cutting-edge diagnostic imaging technology and Varian's advanced therapeutic systems. These solutions can treat tumors with the full range of oncological therapies, including radiosurgery, image-guided radiotherapy, proton therapy and brachytherapy, depending on the option that will work best.
DOTmed was shown the capabilities of Varian's Eclipse treatment planning software, which makes it possible to deliver Modulated Arc (mARC) treatments using Siemens linear accelerators. mARC radiotherapy is Siemens' approach to volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT), a highly efficient method of delivering a precisely-sculpted dose to a targeted tumor.
"Since the beginning of our partnership, Varian and Siemens have worked to create seamless connectivity between our two companies' solutions," said Kolleen Kennedy, president of Varian's Oncology Systems business. This development, she noted, is an important milestone in mutual cooperation and demonstrates the commitment of both companies to doing what is best for the health care community.
A history of joint achievement
Early in their partnership, both companies focused on creating Varian Exchange, an interface that makes it possible to use Varian's ARIA® oncology information system in treatment centers using Siemens LINACs. This interface is now being used successfully in eleven U.S. treatment centers and around the world. It is scheduled to to be installed at an additional 16 centers in the near future.
"Prior to our having this connectivity, DICOM-based export of information between systems was slow and there were clinical restrictions that resulted," said chief medical physicist Dr. Frank-André Siebert, PhD. "The whole patient workflow was hard to follow and even minor change needed a completely new treatment plan, which was very time-consuming."
Dr. Siebert said that the workflow is much smoother with Eclipse and ARIA fully connected to the treatment machines. "It's much easier and faster to work with just one software system rather than two," he said. "Two systems need more care than one and are more expensive to service."