Varian Granted FDA Approval for New Methods in Treating Breast Cancer

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Varian Medical Systems recently won Food and Drug Administration approval for two innovations that should improve targeted radiotherapy for treating breast cancer.

Regulators will allow a new treatment method where patients face forward rather than lie on their backs. The new approach is said to “reduce the volume of lung and heart tissue exposed to radiation,” according to a company press release.

"Recent studies have shown that, for many women without axillary lymph node disease, treatment in the prone position can be used to significantly reduce the volume of lung and heart tissue exposed to the treatment beam," the release states.

In November, the FDA allowed the company to update its existing machines to deliver higher radiation doses up to two times faster. Updated control software on the Clinac® and Trilogy® linear accelerators will allow it to deliver “2400 monitor units per minute—double their former highest output,” according to the release, which touts research among other cancers to support this approach.

Varian’s stock closed up slightly on Tuesday.