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UK cancer patients get robotic radiosurgery treatments

UK cancer patients to gain access to the latest robotic radiosurgery treatments with the announcement that the Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology has ordered the country’s first Novalis Tx™ radiosurgery platform.

The system, which offers an alternative to surgery for cancer and other abnormalities of the brain and body, will start treating patients when the Centre’s new satellite centre opens in 2011.

Using the radiosurgery platform, doctors at the Centre will be able to offer treatments from stereotactic radiosurgery – a fast treatment designed to eradicate a tumour or lesion in a single session – to longer courses of image-guided radiotherapy, with lower-dose treatment.

Whichever treatment is prescribed, the platform should deliver it quickly. ‘It’s hard for anyone to hold still for long periods of time and movement can compromise treatment accuracy’, says Clatterbridge Senior Research Radiographer Angela Heaton. ‘With the Novalis Tx radiosurgery platform, treatments that would have taken up to an hour or more using other techniques can be completed in just minutes, with no compromise in accuracy.’

‘This technology helps to deliver highly precise treatment to the tumour with minimal side-effects while protecting the surrounding healthy tissue, so we are able to confidently address even the most complex conditions,’ added Mr Mohsen Javadpour, Consultant Neurosurgeon at The Walton Centre, Liverpool, which will be sharing the new system with Clatterbridge.

The platform combines a linear accelerator, which rotates around the patient to deliver treatment beams from any angle, with a set of image guidance and motion management tools that guide patient set-up and positioning and monitor motion during treatment. A high-definition multi-leaf collimator shapes the treatment beam so it matches the shape of the tumour from every angle.

Other radiosurgery devices use circular beams to treat. Because most lesions are irregular in shape, a circular dose does not completely cover the exact shape of the tumour. The platform can also be used to deliver frameless radiosurgery treatments, a more patient-friendly alternative to other systems that require immobilization with a head ring that attaches to the skull.

‘Targeted beams are delivered without an incision from outside the body to destroy tumours or other abnormalities, so patients treated in this way can avoid lengthy recovery periods, and many of the complications often associated with conventional invasive surgery,’ said Dr Brian Haylock, Clinical Director for Radiotherapy at Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology.

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