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Varian Medical Systems (VAR - Analyst Report) revealed that it has received 510(k) clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its RapidPlan knowledge-based software. The software helps automate an important part of the treatment planning process, thereby improving the quality and efficiency of care.

RapidPlan has been showcased at the 54th annual meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) in Atlanta in September. It provides standard of care models to clinicians to use as a baseline for formulating complex intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) treatment plans for their patients.

RapidPlan helps users to gain knowledge derived from historical treatment plans. It also serves as a learning tool as clinicians can add their best treatment plans to the system and create a new and improved treatment practice model. This model can be shared among other clinicians within a network and create a standard of practice.

Similar products offered by VAR include the RapidArc technology and the Smart Segmentation knowledge-based tool. Based on the cost effectiveness of the new softwares, management plans to create more knowledge-driven solutions for the entire oncology continuum.

Varian is poised to increase its global market share in the radiation oncology market as international markets are still under-equipped to address the growing incidence of cancer. However, the oncology business in North America is witnessing a drop in capital expenditure on account of uncertainty emanating from health care reform and anticipated changes in reimbursement.

VAR currently retains a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). While we prefer to avoid the stock, other stocks from the medical instruments industry that are worth a look include Mindray Medical International Limited (MR - Analyst Report), with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), and Cepheid (CPHD - Analyst Report) and MAKO Surgical Corp. , both with a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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