Mercy Health Partners’ Johnson Family Center for Cancer Care First in Michigan to Treat Cancer Patients with RapidArc™ Radiotherapy 10/10/2008 Muskegon, Michigan, October 10, 2008 -- Mercy Health Partners is the first healthcare system in Michigan, and one of the first in the nation to begin treating cancer patients using RapidArc™ radiotherapy technology. RapidArc delivers advanced image-guided treatments two to eight times faster than is possible with conventional or standard intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) treatments.
"The first treatments at the Johnson Family Center for Cancer Care have gone very, very well," said Nina Johnson, MD, Mercy Health Partners’ medical director for radiation oncology. "RapidArc gives us the ability to deliver a highly accurate radiation treatment in a very short time frame. Using standard radiation treatments, patients are typically required to lie perfectly still for as long as 20 minutes. With RapidArc, we can now complete an entire radiation dose in less than two minutes. Not only is it less lying still on the table time, but the speed reduces the chance that the patients will move. This is a huge breakthrough for our patients,” she said.
"This technology saves patients about twelve minutes or more each day, which really adds up," says Jennifer Hann Fisher, Senior Medical Physicist and Radiation Safety Officer at the Johnson Family Center for Cancer Care. "Another benefit of RapidArc is that we get an outstanding, breathtaking dose map across the tumor, which allows us to provide 100 percent of the radiation dose directly to the site while at the same time reducing radiation to the surrounding, healthy tissue by seventy-five percent." With RapidArc, treatments are delivered with just one 360-degree rotation of the treatment machine around the patient compared to treatments with IMRT with up to 20 segmented fields and treatment times exceeding 20 minutes.
"This new technology actually conforms the radiation beam to match the shape and size of each patient’s individual tumor. Everything we do is about precision, down to the millimeter," said Johnson. "Rapid Arc allows us to treat patients more quickly, more comfortably, and more accurately. This revolutionary technology will become the preferred method for treating most types of cancer."
"We are very excited to provide our patients with the benefits of this revolutionary advancement in cancer treatment," said Roger Spoelman, President and CEO. "RapidArc™ is a superior technology that extends the versatility of our image-guided radiotherapy system, so that we can offer our patients world-class cancer treatment right here on the lakeshore."
About RapidArc™: RapidArc treatments are created using Varian's Eclipse™ treatment planning software and delivered using a Trilogy™ linear accelerator, a machine that rotates around the patient to deliver the treatment beam from virtually any angle. A device with a computer-controlled aperture is used to shape the treatment beam so that it matches the shape and size of the tumor. Proprietary RapidArc software varies the speed of rotation around the patient, the dimensions of the beam-shaping aperture, and the rate of dose delivery in order to target the tumor and avoids the surrounding healthy tissues.
About Mercy Health Partners: Mercy Health Partners is the second largest health system in West Michigan with more than 4,300 associates, four hospitals, 375 physicians and a number of exclusive, specialty physician-care services for the region.