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An elderly person afflicted with cancer became the first individual in India to receive therapy utilizing the accurate and speedy TrueBeam radiotherapy treatment system provided by Varian Medical Systems ( VAR - Analyst Report ) . The treatment was provided at the Health Care Global (“HCG”) facility in Ahmedabad.
The TrueBeam system is intended to treat cancer patients. The TrueBeam platform for image guided radiosurgery and radiotherapy is a totally integrated system designed to treat a moving target, like a tumor, with accuracy and speed. It incorporates a high intensity mode, one of 6 dosage levels, and customized delivery of doses based on the patient’s requirement.
The patient was given accelerated partial breast irradiation and the course of her treatment was completed in just 7 days versus the 5 weeks required with former Varian know-how. According to the radiation oncologist, the clinicians had to ensure that the dose was administered to the correct region, as high doses were applied twice daily.
The radiation oncologist added that patients as well as the clinical team benefited from superior quality imaging, brief treatment periods and higher throughput. The facility added radiotherapy to pre-existing chemotherapy and surgical services, as recently as a month ago.
HCG is the first private-sector cancer hospital in the city providing both cancer treatment as well as diagnostic capability. It attracts patients from both within and outside the Indian state of Gujarat. The head of marketing at HCG said that they plan to introduce TrueBeam at its facilities in other cities.
The radiation oncologist plans to utilize TrueBeam to provide sophisticated radiotherapy techniques, such as stereotactic body radiotherapy (“SBRT”) therapy, besides clinical studies and research initiatives. He added that TrueBeam opens up possibilities to tackle hard-to-treat cancers such as liver cancer.
India, with a population over 1 billion, reports an estimated 1 million new cases of cancer every year. Women are frequently afflicted by breast and cervical cancer while men are commonly struck by lung and stomach cancer. Among other initiatives, Varian has set up an education center in Mumbai to train Indian radiotherapists on the proper usage of Varian’s offerings.
Varian is a leading manufacturer of integrated radiotherapy systems for treating cancer and a premier supplier of X-ray tubes for diagnostic imaging applications. The company operates in a technology-driven environment, where success depends on the use of new technology, product development and upgrades. In the radiation oncology market, Varian competes with Accuray ( ARAY - Analyst Report ) .
Varian is poised to increase its market share in radiation oncology. It is currently enjoying a healthy demand for TrueBeam, which is meaningfully contributing to net order oncology growth.
However, Varian competes with larger players in a technology-intensive industry. Further, uncertainties stemming from health care reform and a still weak hospital capital spending environment across many developed countries, especially in Europe, are significant challenges. We currently have a Neutral recommendation on Varian. The stock currently retains a Zacks #3 Rank, which translates into a short-term Hold recommendation.
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