February 10, 2011 – For the first time in the UK, cancer patients are starting to receive treatment with Novalis Tx radiosurgery. This device, by Brainlab and Varian Medical Systems, gives the chance of a cure to those with inoperable tumors and offers the possibility to perform precise, painless treatment in a single patient visit.
The system makes it possible for doctors to treat patients with tumors virtually anywhere in the body in just a single session. Combining a 'sat nav' like targeting system and powerful treatment beams, it can destroy cancerous cells and helps to protect surrounding healthy tissue. Treatment is also made more patient-friendly by delivering frameless radiosurgery for brain tumors, an alternative to techniques that require immobilization with an invasive head ring that is affixed to the skull.
In its first year of operation at the brand new Clatterbridge Cancer Centre in Liverpool, it is expected to treat more than 800 cancer patients. It is estimated that 150 of these patients will be priority brain tumor patients where precise, non-invasive treatment is particularly effective.
"Unlike some other highly specialized radiation treatment machines, the Novalis Tx can treat many different types of cancer in all over the body allowing us to treat more cancer patients with a single device,” said Brian Haylock, consultant oncologist and clinical director for radiotherapy at Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology. “This coupled with the speed with which we can treat patients - in some cases in as little as 15 minutes in just one session - means the equipment will be available for the benefit of more patients here in the UK."
Later this year, Novalis Tx machines will become operational at two other specialist NHS cancer centers in Edinburgh and Manchester.