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Varian Medical Systems, a global manufacturer of medical devices and software for cancer treatment, has partnered with the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) to develop motion management techniques for proton therapy.

Under the multi-year collaboration, the two parties have agreed to jointly study and subsequently optimise possible treatment strategies for all types of cancer indications, including lung, liver, pancreas and breast.

Using a 4D treatment planning simulator developed by PSI, proton therapy delivers controlled beam of protons to target tumors.

Varian claims that the therapy will drastically reduce the likely damage for the healthy tissue surrounding the tumors by targeting them with higher levels of precision compared to the existing modes of radiation therapy.

Varian Particle Therapy division general manager Moataz Karmalawy said; "This collaboration will support our customers in the fight against cancers that have not typically been treated with proton therapy in the past".

PSI professor Tony Lomax said the deal uses 4D motion data sets and dose calculations to model patient motion variations more easily than with conventional data sets.

"We hope to exploit our unique methods for simulating clinically realistic organ motions for the study of motion mitigation techniques for spot scanned proton therapy," Lomax said.

Commenting on the importance of 4D software, Varian Particle Therapy marketing director Jan Timmer said; "When testing motion mitigation techniques, it’s important to have a tool that can simulate the timed dose delivery for realistic tumor cases to determine the relative merit of the different techniques".

The latest agreement marks the expansion of the partnership between Varian and PSI, who earlier collaborated to develop the ProBeam proton system.

ProBeam, which is due to obtain CE mark and international registrations, is not available for sale in all markets.

Image: Proton treatment still taken from animation. Photo: Courtesy of Varian Medical Systems.