Varian introduces Eclipse treatment planning system

August 22, 2001

Varian Medical Systems launched its Eclipse treatment planning system during the American Association of Physicists in Medicine meeting in Salt Lake City in late July. The product, which received 510(k) clearance in May (SCAN 7/9/01), is being touted as

Varian Medical Systems launched its Eclipse treatment planning system during the American Association of Physicists in Medicine meeting in Salt Lake City in late July. The product, which received 510(k) clearance in May (SCAN 7/9/01), is being touted as the first high-performance Windows-based treatment planning system for cancer radiotherapy.

Eclipse is a PC-based, 3-D treatment planning and virtual simulation system that combines advanced graphics with rapid dose calculation. Using functional and anatomical images derived from CT, MRI, PET, or SPECT, the system simulates the effects of radiation transport through the patient, enabling physicists, clinicians, and dosimetrists to accurately measure dose deposition and thus ensure that only minimal healthy tissue is destroyed during radiation therapy.

“They can create any kind of plan they want,” said Cory Zankowski, treatment planning product manage for Varian. “The whole point of treatment planning is to test all the options.”

Multiple planning options can be quickly tested and the best one fine-tuned, according to the company. Eclipse offers several modes to show dose distributions, including 3-D dose clouds, isodose surfaces, and surface dose mapping. These features enable users to visualize whether a treatment strategy will provide adequate tumor coverage and whether a particular strategy must be adjusted to avoid under- or overirradiating the patient.

Contouring takes about 10 minutes. This enables users to quickly identify the outer dimensions of cancerous tumors and surrounding healthy organs a number of times before settling on a particular treatment strategy, Zankowski said.

“The system will be a big deal to the information systems at hospitals and clinics,” Zankowski said. “Typically, they have a PC-based network, and because treatment planning has traditionally been done on UNIX systems, physicists were doing all of the administration. That’s relatively inefficient. This frees up time for the physicists and allows the experts to do their job.”

The system sells for about $100,000. Several systems already have been sold, although none has been installed. No sales projections were available.