Varian Medical Systems, of Palo Alto, Calif., recently received clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for a new proton scanning dose algorithm that will be incorporated into Varian’s Eclipse treatment planning software.

Giving clinicians greater control over how proton beams are used to target tumors and other abnormalities, the new algorithm optimizes dose distributions in three dimensions in order to protect surrounding healthy tissues. This ability for precise control makes it possible to plan for intensity modulated proton therapy.

This technique does not require a therapist to enter and exit the treatment room numerous times throughout a treatment to adjust physical compensators for processing proton beams. "With proton scanning and intensity-modulation, this cumbersome process can be completely eliminated," said Jeff Amacker, Varian’s business manager for treatment planning products.

With the addition of the proton scanning dose algorithm, the Eclipse radiotherapy treatment planning system continues to expand on its functionality as a single system for state-of-the-art proton, photon, electron and brachytherapy treatment planning.