Varian (NYSE: VAR) has started the installation of the cyclotron and gantry for its ProBeam® 360° single-room proton therapy system at Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health’s Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute. The cyclotron and gantry are core pieces of equipment of the ProBeam® 360° system.
The Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute, which is part of Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health, has become the first treatment center in the world to have a ProBeam® 360° system from Varian. The center is expected to treat its first patients in 2022.
“Varian is proud of our longstanding collaboration with Penn Medicine, which goes back decades and encompasses joint innovation, clinical research, training and education, and bringing new technologies to cancer patients,” said Kolleen Kennedy, Chief Growth Officer and President of Proton Therapy Solutions at Varian. “We’re especially pleased to be taking this next step with them, delivering the latest innovations in proton therapy technology for the cancer patients of South Central Pennsylvania.”
The cyclotron is a particle accelerator that accelerates protons to extremely fast speeds; roughly 100,000 miles per second or roughly two thirds the speed of light, to create a beam that can precisely reach tumors wherever they are in the body. The finished ProBeam® 360° system will incorporate the fully rotational gantry that rotates around the patient to target tumors from virtually any angle, robotic patient positioning tools, integrated iterative cone-beam CT imaging and pencil-beam scanning for delivery of high-definition intensity-modulated proton therapy (IMPT).
Proton therapy makes it possible to treat certain types of cancer more precisely and with potentially fewer side effects than is possible with conventional radiation therapy. With proton therapy, the risk of damage to healthy tissues and potential side effects is reduced because a proton beam deposits dose within the tumor site rather than passing all the way through the patient. Proton therapy can be used for many of the most common types of cancer.
In addition to the ProBeam® 360° system, Varian will also provide its ARIA® information management system and Eclipse™ treatment planning—software that can be used to enable a cloud-based “hub and spoke” operations model for managing key functions centrally to avoid costly duplication of resources across the larger University of Pennsylvania Health System. The Eclipse software will also incorporate RapidPlan™ PT— the first clinical application of machine learning in proton treatment planning. RapidPlan PT is a knowledge-based treatment planning software that enables clinicians to leverage knowledge and data from previous cases in order to develop high-quality, personalized plans for patients.
“This is yet another key milestone in a multi-year journey that will marry the extensive research and clinical protocols we’ve developed over the past 11 years at Penn Medicine’s Roberts Proton Therapy Center with the considerable expertise at Lancaster General,” said James Metz, MD, Chair of Radiation Oncology, Perelman School of Medicine.