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Varian unveils Halcyon linac for simplified, efficient radiotherapy

por Lauren Dubinsky, Senior Reporter | May 06, 2017
European News Medical Devices Rad Oncology Radiation Therapy
Sharp volumetric imaging in 15 seconds
Varian Medical Systems unveiled its Halcyon linear accelerator system for image-guided volumetric intensity modulated radiotherapy today at the ESTRO 36 conference in Vienna, Austria. The system can treat the majority of cancer patients including those with prostate, breast, and head and neck cancer.

“Everyone knows there’s a shift in health care economics in the U.S., but in other countries everyone is focused on efficiency,” Mu Young Lee, director of new product solutions at Varian, told HCB News. “Whether you’re in China or France or America, we have an aging population everywhere, so the need for efficiency is important worldwide.”

The main problem hospitals will face in the next five to 10 years is a lack of clinicians to care for the growing elderly population, according to Lee. Varian stated that the Halcyon was designed to deliver high-quality treatment that will empower clinicians to care for many more patients.

Traditional linac systems require the technologist to go through up to 30 steps from the start to the end of treatment, but Halcyon only requires nine steps, and the first three steps are guided by the user interface. The system is also capable of performing sharp volumetric imaging in as little as 15 seconds.

In order to support the gantry rotation speed and simultaneously deliver the treatment dose precisely to the targeted area, the Halcyon is designed with a patented dual–layer multi-leaf collimator that moves twice as fast as standard MLCs.

“Radiotherapy is very personalized medicine. When you get an advanced radiotherapy treatment, the distribution of radiation you get in your body is tailored for you,” said Lee. “The MLC is one of the critical pieces of equipment that shapes the beam that enters the patient.”

The system has a 100 centimeter gantry opening, which is larger than standard CT gantries, so patients will feel less constricted and anxious.

“If we want to make a world without fear of cancer, it’s not just meeting the needs of the people who buy the system but also meeting the needs of the people who will be treated by the machine,” said Lee.

The Halcyon is also up to two times quieter than other linac systems and has a low couch height for easy access, as well as ambient lighting in the gantry opening. It also features an integrated couch-mounted camera so the therapist can watch over the patient during treatment, and an integrated sound system so they can converse.

The Halcyon is an expensive system, but Varian designed it to yield economic advantages in overall cost of ownership. It comes pre-commissioned, requires less shielding than traditional systems and can fit in a vault as small as 19.68 feet x 18.17 feet x 8.99 feet high and can be installed in two weeks or less.

“The total value you get comes not so much upfront,” said Lee. “Yes, a machine is expensive, but when you look over 15 years, many other things begin to dominate that life cycle equation.”

The Halcyon received CE mark this week and Varian expected that it will be FDA approved by the end of June.

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