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Trust’s cancer fight gets equipment boost

07 February 2018
Cambridge University Hospitals’ battle to help cancer patients from all over East Anglia is getting a multi-million pound boost.

It is to become the first NHS trust in the country to take delivery of an advanced “Radixact radio therapy delivery system” to help those suffering from breast, prostate, colo-rectal, head and neck cancers. It also plays a part in the preparation of patients for complex procedures like bone marrow transplants.The advanced new equipment

Preparation for the arrival of the £1.9m system, which involves an upgrade of the current treatment room at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, has started and the machine is expected to go live in June.

It has been bought thanks to money received from the NHS Radiotherapy Modernisation fund and a second system, funded by the Trust, is expected to be treating patients from January 2019.

The equipment, made by the American company Accuray, will replace two TomoTherapy Hi-Art systems which were supplied by the same company 10 years ago. They were another NHS first for CUH.

One advantage of the new equipment over its predecessor is that it can deliver treatments more quickly and accurately using “helical delivery technology”.

Specialist software means clinicians can adapt delivery to changes in tumour size, shape and location and the system is so precise that in some cases re-occurring cancers can be treated.

The combination of the two machines means clinicians expect to increase the number of treatments delivered with them from under 12,000 a year, to more than 16,000.

The system compliments the vast array of other high-tech equipment in the department – including that unveiled last August in memory of a colleague who died in a helicopter crash in New Zealand. 

The Kath Walker suite includes a state-of-the-art machine – called the TrueBeam™ STx with Novalis® Radiosurgery – meaning CUH is now one of 17 specialist centres in the UK that deliver a highly advanced form of radiotherapy, called Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS).

Operational Head of Radiotherapy, Kevin Skilton, said: “We put a detailed business case together to apply for funding for this latest system and are very proud to have been successful. A decision by the Trust is to fund a second system is equally fantastic news.”

Professional Head of Radiotherapy, Jemma Chapman, added: “The Radixact Systems is significantly more advanced that the one it replaces and, when combined with the other equipment we have, offers clinicians a wider choice of treatments for patients.”