NEWCASTLE-UPON-TYNE, UK, Nov. 29, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Cancer patients in the north-east of England will be able to receive modern radiosurgery treatments without having to travel for up to two hours for treatments. The Northern Centre for Cancer Care (NCCC) at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle-upon-Tyne is acquiring two TrueBeam™ STx medical linear accelerators from Varian Medical Systems (NYSE: VAR) to begin offering advanced stereotactic radiosurgery treatments for the first time.
The NCCC, currently equipped with eight linear accelerators from Siemens, intends to replace its older machines over time and earlier this autumn placed orders for two TrueBeam STx machines which are capable of the full range of modern radiotherapy treatments, including advanced radiosurgery. The machines are slated to be installed at the center in 2013.
"We want to introduce stereotactic ablative body radiotherapy (SABR) and stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) programs, which are becoming the standard of care for many cancer treatments," says Gill Lawrence, head of radiotherapy physics. "Once the new machines are installed, the SABR program will be available initially for lung cancer patients the SRS program for treating conditions in the brain; subsequent developments include plans for liver and pancreatic cancer treatments." SABR is offering early-stage non-small-cell lung cancer patients - including those who are inoperable or elderly - a non-invasive treatment option.
The NCCC currently refers stereotactic patients to cancer centers in Clatterbridge, Sheffield or Leeds, requiring either a daily two-hour journey for treatments or overnight stays. "It will be a great relief for patients and staff to be able to offer equivalent treatments here in Newcastle," says Susan Lamb, radiotherapy services manager.Dr. Ian Pedley, consultant oncologist at the NCCC, said the hospital decided to install two TrueBeam STx devices because of Varian's experience in radiosurgery technology and its focus on an integrated approach. "We wanted to be able to get up and running quickly and use the new machines for all treatments, not just stereotactic," said Dr. Pedley. "We will be treating a lot of patients on these machines and workflow is extremely important to us." The Northern Centre for Cancer Care, which moved to a new purpose-built oncology center in 2008, serves 1.7 million people from across the Northumberland, Tyne-and-Wear and Durham region. The clinic aims to deliver 38 to 42 individual treatments per day on each of its eight linear accelerators. Newcastle-based charities, including the local Charlie Bear Fund and the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation – initiated by the former England and Newcastle soccer team manager – were instrumental in contributing to the purchase of the new machines. Varian's TrueBeam platform, introduced in 2010, offers a multitude of technical innovations that dynamically synchronize imaging, patient positioning, motion management, and treatment delivery. With its High Intensity Mode, TrueBeam devices can deliver very high doses quickly and accurately, more than twice as fast as earlier generations of technology. The TrueBeam STx is a high-end model optimized for radiosurgical applications, where very large doses are delivered in a single treatment or only a few sessions.