Press Release Stockholm, Sweden, March 12, 2009
A patient with prostate cancer has received treatment using Elekta VMAT (Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy) at the National Taiwan University Hospital (NTUH) in Taiwan. VMAT enables dramatically reduced treatment times and more precise targeting of tumors by simultaneously controlling all aspects of the treatment. It constantly changes the shape of the beam to conform to the shape of the area that needs to receive radiation while at the same time sparing the surrounding critical tissue. Like most organs, the prostate can move during treatment. By delivering radiation in less time, VMAT technology minimizes the opportunity for organ motion, which further enhances the precision of the radiation treatment.
NTUH treated the patient with the comprehensive Elekta VMAT solution that includes ERGO++ treatment planning software. The ERGO++ treatment planning system uses a special algorithm to perform fast, accurate dose calculations. The patient was treated on Elekta Synergy®, a multi-functional linear accelerator that enables clinicians to both image and treat patients in the same frame of reference, at the time of treatment.
Jason Chia-Hsien Cheng, M.D., M.S., Ph.D. is Division Chief of the Division of Radiation Oncology, Department of Oncology, and Assistant Professor, Graduate Institute of Clinical Medicine at NTUH. He says, “Our first patient undergoing VMAT is a 76-year-old retired gentleman with prostate cancer. He is a father with many children. He was treated with 200cGy via a co-planar single arc, and the treatment time was less than three minutes.”
Taiwan’s first VMAT patient benefited from improved technology, with better conformity of tumor coverage and a shorter treatment time than the current IMRT treatments allow, says Dr. Cheng. “We appreciate the advantages of VMAT with shorter daily treatment times and the best target conformity. We also see a large number of patients in our department, so it’s important to have efficient patient treatment flow.”
NTUH is one of the biggest hospitals in Taiwan, and more than 200 cancer patients are treated with radiotherapy every day. “We are excited and honored to be the first hospital in the Asian Pacific area to start a VMAT program,” says Dr. Cheng. “In the future, we expect that the better dose coverage of VMAT should bring better outcomes and sparing of critical organs in the head and neck and other complex areas.”
The annual incidence of cancer is increasing worldwide, he adds. “If we can treat patients more efficiently, we can help more people with precise, comfortable treatment, and speed up our patient flow as well.”