ATLANTA, Sept. 23, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- ASTRO Booth #1115 -- Varian Medical Systems (NYSE: VAR) is showcasing a new knowledge-based software tool designed to expedite creation of complex intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) treatment plans at the 54 th annual meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) this week. Varian's new RapidPlan™ software* will provide clinicians with standard of care models to use as a baseline for developing new IMRT treatment plans for their patients. IMRT is a type of radiotherapy that focuses precisely on the tumor while minimizing exposure of surrounding healthy tissues. "RapidPlan will improve the quality and efficiency of treatment planning, much like our RapidArc technology enhanced treatment delivery," says Chris Toth, vice president of marketing for Varian's Oncology Systems business. "The RapidPlan software will change treatment planning by providing users with access to a knowledge base with standard-of-care models developed by leading practitioners. The goal is to help increase treatment plan quality and reduce variability without adding time to the planning process." RapidPlan is a comprehensive tool within Varian's Eclipse™ treatment planning system that may be used to plan virtually every type of external beam radiotherapy, including intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT), image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT), RapidArc® radiotherapy, stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT), and stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR). It is seamlessly integrated with Varian's Eclipse™ treatment planning software. "RapidPlan is designed to be a 'learning system,'" says Corey Zankowski, vice president of product management. "Clinicians can select their 'best' treatment plans to include in a training set that can be used to create new and improved practice models in the future. In doing so, sites can customize RapidPlan to reflect their own practices. The models can also be shared among colleagues within a care network to create a practice standard. Eventually, as local knowledge bases expand and improve, organizations will be able to share best practices between institutions." "RapidPlan helps automate an important part of the treatment planning process, in much the same way as our Smart Segmentation™ knowledge-based tool, introduced in 2011, which automates contouring of organs within diagnostic images," says Toth. "Both tools are designed to allow clinicians to access an extensive body of clinical experience while expediting cumbersome, time-consuming processes."