How Well Do You Know Varian and Elekta?

November 8, 2009 · Written by ·

Varian and Elekta are two world leading (and competing) companies pioneering significant clinical solutions for treating cancer in radiation oncology. Any medical physicist is as familiar with the terms “Varian” and “Elekta” as he is with “x-ray” and “radiation.” In essence, Varian and Elekta are the “giants” in our industry…but how much do you really know about these companies whose names are ubiquitous with medical physics and whose products most of us use everyday?

Elekta was founded in 1972 by the late Lars Leksell, Professor of Neurosurgey at Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden. Currently, Elekta technologies are used in over 5,000 hospitals across the globe, and each day over 100,000 patients receive diagnosis, treatment or follow-up with the help of a solution from the Elekta Group. Tomas Puusepp, is present President and CEO of ELEKTA Corporation International. Shares of Elekta stock trade on the Nordic exchange OMX with the ticker symbol EKTA B. Interestingly, while Elekta shares trade in Sweden, nearly half of its revenue from equipment sales come from the United States. Elekta corporate headquarters is in Stockholm, Sweden.

Varian Medical Systems, Inc. was founded in the late 1940s as Varian Associates in the late 1940s by a group of scientists with strong connections to Stanford University. The company founders included brothers Russell and Sigurd Varian, inventors of the klystron tube, a high-frequency amplifier for generating microwaves that became an essential component of the modern medical linear accelerator. Since the late 1960s, more than 5,200 Varian Medical Systems linear accelerators have been installed in hospitals and clinics worldwide. In 1999, Varian Associates split its semiconductor, vacuum tubes, and medical device divisions into Varian Semiconductor, Varian Inc, and Varian Medical Systems, respectively. Varian employs approximately 5,000 people in its manufacturing sites and sales/support offices across the globe. Timothy E. Guertin is present president and CEO of Varian Medical System Inc. Varian trades on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) with the ticker symbol VAR. Varian corporate headquarters is in Palo Alto, California.

Now, for a little fun to test your knowledge of Varian and Elekta products…After all, knowing and being up-to-date on available clinical solutions is a part of being a physicist. Gauge your familiarity with Varian and Elekta products by naming the competing product for each of the following:

1- If Varian has Acuity, what does Elekta have?

2- If Varian has Eclipse, what does Elekta have?

3- If Varian has Rapid Arc, what does Elekta have?

4- If Elekta has MOSAIQ, what does Varian have?

5- If Elekta has the Leksell Gamma Knife, what does Varian have?

6- If Elekta has Infinity, what does Varian have?

7- If Elekta has Axesse, what does Varian have?

8- If Varian has Aria, what does Elekta have?

9- If Varian has Silhouette, what does Elekta have?

10- If Elekta has Synergy, what does Varian have?

And lastly, a bonus question, if you will, who has the Cyberknife?

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3 Responses to “How Well Do You Know Varian and Elekta?”

  1. ARSH on November 9th, 2009 4:53 pm

    I have used Varian machines for many years and have been happy with the performance, down time, and reproducibility of the Linac. Therefore I am partial to Varian linear accelerators. However, I have not used Eclipse or Aria. I am wondering if someone can comment on how user-friendly Aria is (and/or Eclipse) and what are the pros and cons as compared to IMPAC and CMS. My institution is preparing for a new machine with amodulated Arc therapy such as Varian Rapid Arc and Elekta VMAT.

  2. Tim on November 10th, 2009 1:03 pm

    I know the answers! However, my comment is to get the correct usage of our trademark names.


    Leksell Gamma Knife(tm)

    Thanks in advance

    Answer to the Cyberknife question: Who cares?

  3. on November 10th, 2009 9:21 pm

    Hi Tim, Thank you for your comment–very witty! Apologizes for the error. The post has been updated to reflect the correct usage. Just curious, how does Elekta come up with their catchy product names (such as MOSAIQ, Infinity)? I’m always intrigued by the reasoning behind choosing the names. Could you share the explanation for any or all of the product names above?

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