Netherlands Clinic Bids Farewell to World’s Longest-Running Elekta Radiation Treatment Machine

Leiden University Medical Center retires SL25 linear accelerator after 24 years and continues long Elekta tradition with new treatment system acquisitions

LEIDEN, The Netherlands Netherlands — Monday, October 17, 2011

Recently, Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) removed the final components of its first SL25 series Elekta cancer therapy machine, a system that began treating patients at LUMC in 1987. The SL25 digital linear accelerator had reliably delivered over 160,000 therapy treatments to more than 10,000 patients.

“I would compare our first treatment system, the SL25, to your first mobile phone,” says C.A.M. Marijnen, M.D., chair of LUMC’s radiation oncology department since 2009. “To you, it was perfect, easy to use and it did what you needed it to do. But obviously it can’t do all the things smartphones do now. While the SL25 was our most resilient system, after 24 years it was time to take advantage of newer radiation treatment technology.”

The SL25, a Philips product until Elekta acquired the company’s radiation oncology business in 1997, had exceeded its normal lifespan of 10 to 15 years through its exceptional design and the care and attention that LUMC’s physicist Henk de Vroome and engineer Ruud Kuit – both recently retired – had given the system over the decades.

“Except for mandatory modifications, we did all the maintenance on the SL25 ourselves over the last few years too,” de Vroome says. “The system’s longevity also can be attributed to the resilience of expensive components, such as the drum and waveguide. The components of the control system have shorter life cycles, so we replaced those once in a while. It’s like servicing an aircraft, where you do an occasional overhaul.”

For all other Elekta treatment machines, LUMC has maintained a full Elekta collaboration service contract for many years, with Elekta and LUMC engineers working closely together to achieve the highest systems’ performance, uptime and availability.

LUMC staff and Elekta Netherlands representatives gathered in August at the medical center for a celebration to honor de Vroome and Kuit for their years of work with the SL25, and to begin the system’s disassembly.

LUMC is a long-time devotee of Elekta digital linear accelerators. After the SL25 purchase, LUMC installed an Elekta SLi in 1996, which is still in operation, featuring a multi-leaf collimator and electronic portal imaging. In 2001, LUMC acquired an Elekta Precise Treatment System, and, in 2005 and 2006, two Elekta Synergy® Platform systems. These three machines treat most of the department’s daily volume of 120 patients.

By the end of 2011, the SLi will be replaced by an Elekta Synergy®, the first linear accelerator to bring 3D image guidance into the treatment setup process. The system is equipped with imaging tools that help clinicians visualize tumor targets and normal tissue, and their movement between or immediately before fractions. The integration of this technology in the Elekta Synergy gantry enables physicians to perform imaging with the patient in the treatment position at the time of treatment, to optimize patient setup before therapy.

 

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About Elekta

Elekta is a human care company pioneering significant innovations and clinical solutions for treating cancer and brain disorders. The company develops sophisticated, state-of-the-art tools and treatment planning systems for radiation therapy, radiosurgery and brachytherapy, as well as workflow enhancing software systems across the spectrum of cancer care. Stretching the boundaries of science and technology, providing intelligent and resource-efficient solutions that offer confidence to both healthcare providers and patients, Elekta aims to improve, prolong and even save patient lives.

Today, Elekta solutions in oncology and neurosurgery are used in over 6,000 hospitals worldwide. Elekta employs around 3,300 employees globally. The corporate headquarters is located in Stockholm, Sweden, and the company is listed on the Nordic Exchange under the ticker EKTAb. Website: www.elekta.com.

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