New radiotherapy machine treats patients 3 times faster

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Cancer patients at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust are benefiting from a leading edge radiotherapy machine which can deliver treatment up to three times faster than conventional methods.

The new linear accelerator (linac) – a Versa HD manufactured by Elekta – has advanced 4D image guidance systems which provide extremely accurate treatment delivery and minimal side effects.

Radiotherapy machine opening 2018

One of the Trust’s existing radiotherapy machines has also been upgraded as part of the £2million investment from the Radiotherapy Modernisation Programme (part of the NHS National Cancer Programme).

The development gives patients access to the most leading edge technology as well as ensuring sufficient capacity to meet future demand.

South Tees has also invested £700,000 in refurbishment to ensure patients using the new machine have the best possible experience in modern and comfortable surroundings.

President of the Society and College of Radiographers, Gareth Thomas, officially opened the new linac during a recent visit to The James Cook University Hospital’s radiotherapy and oncology department.

Kevin Burke, head of radiotherapy physics, said: “The new linac features two high energy photon beams, each of which can be operated in flattening filter free mode allowing intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) to be delivered up to three times faster.

“National targets require a minimum 24% of radical patient treatments to be delivered as IMRT – here at James Cook we treat over 60% of our patients with this advanced technique, more than anywhere else in the country.”

Claire Huntley, radiotherapy clinical lead added: “We are delighted that at James Cook we are at the forefront of cancer care within England and that the Radiotherapy Modernisation Fund is further allowing us to offer advanced radiotherapy treatment.

“We are very proud of our radiotherapy team and their ongoing commitment to the technical development within the department but most importantly, our drive is to offer the best patient care, of which we are very proud.”