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Archived HCA Press Releases

Harley Street Clinic Brings the First CyberKnife Cancer Robot to Britain

17 June 2008

The Harley Street Clinic, one of HCA International's six acute hospitals in London, is installing the revolutionary Cyberknife cancer treatment system in early 2009 - the first one of its kind in Britain.A state-of-the art, revolutionary treatment technology for cancer, the CyberKnife is effectively a compact radiotherapy source mounted on computer controlled robot that can move in three dimensions around the patient. It is able treat tumours anywhere in the body more accurately than ever before so that higher doses can be delivered with less effect on surrounding tissue.

The Harley Street Clinic, one of the UK's foremost centres for cancer medicine, is teaming up with London's leading cancer experts to create a new world class treatment centre in Harley Street, the heart of London's medical district.The investment in this new technology is part of a £15 million development programme being undertaken at the Harley Street Clinic complex.

The CyberKnife works in conjunction with CT cancer mapping technology and calculates how much radiotherapy a tumour needs to destroy all cancer cells without harming surrounding tissue.The CT technology helps the medical team map the tumour in 3D and programme the robotic arm so that it delivers radiotherapy doses from many directions all around the body always focusing on the tumour site. A separate camera monitors the effectiveness of the operation and works with the robotic arm so that it moves in synchronisation with the movement of the patient's breathing - ensuring the most accurate delivery of radiotherapy ever achieved.

Cyberknife can treat tumours that were previously very difficult and sometimes dangerous to treat with direct radiotherapy, or traditional open surgery such as cancer of the spine.  By targeting the tumour from many different angles the correct dose can be delivered without damaging the spinal cord.Neil Buckley, Chief Executive of The Harley Street Clinic and Director of HCA's cancer services, says the Cyberknife - coupled with a range of other state of the art technology being installed - will make HCA Cancer Care Europe's leading cancer treatment network. "Cyberknife is the most significant technological advance in radiotherapy since the linear accelerator," he said.  "This will have many benefits for patients and it is a major boost for London as an international centre for medical excellence".   

According to oncologist Dr Nick Plowman, Clinical Director of the new Cyberknife Centre, the equipment gives cancer specialists new options for treating difficult tumours. He said "the linking of several technologies, from CT and PET scanning with an accelerator head that can move with the patient's every breath, means tumours can be targeted with greater accuracy than was previously possible. This machine has shown remarkable results over its years of use in the US and elsewhere. Patients will be able to see their oncologists at our network of hospitals all over London and will come here for radiotherapy from Cyberknife.  So we are forming a London-wide team of cancer specialists able to bring a new level of treatment for patients from London and the South East".

The Harley Street Clinic is in discussion with English Heritage and Westminster City Council about the positioning of the Cyberknife in a specially constructed basement under listed buildings in Harley Street.  It is hoped the machine will be operational by October of this year. Through a joint venture with St Bartholomew's and The Royal London Hospital, the Harley Street Cancer Centre already has a Gamma Knife, which uses a different type of radiation and is specifically for cancers of the brain.  Discussions are underway to make the facilities in Harley Street available for NHS as well as private patients.In addition, the Harley Street Clinic will soon take delivery of two latest generation linear accelerators, a PET scanner and a 64 slice state of the art CT scanner - the fastest available on the market today.

For more information about HCA Cancer Care hospitals please visit For more information about CyberKnife please visit

HCA is London’s largest private healthcare group. The HCA network is made up of six world-class hospitals, The Harley Street Clinic, The Wellington Hospital, The London Bridge Hospital, The Portland Hospital, The Lister Hospital and the Princess Grace Hospital, as well as four outpatient facilities conveniently located throughout London.

HCA healthcare facilities have been recognised as Centres of Excellence in a wide variety of specialist areas and are world renowned for compassionate care and medical innovation. With more than 3,000 consultants and the latest diagnostic and treatment technology, HCA is the private hospital group of choice for London and the UK.


Note to editors:

The Cyberknife uses the same type of robots as those seen carrying out complex painting of cars in Citroen's ‘Picasso' car adverts on TV.The Harley Street Cancer Centre (Part of the Harley Street Clinic) is the centre of the HCA Hospitals cancer service and is based at 81 Harley Street with a Haematology centre on the 15th Floor of the University College Hospital Building in Euston Road - a joint venture with UCLH. The Wellington Hospital in North London, The Princess Grace Hospital in Nottingham Place, and the London Bridge Hospital on the banks of the Thames, will be the main cancer hospitals sharing the Cyberknife facility with the Harley Street Clinic.

Dr Nick Plowman is one of the UK's leading clinical oncologists.  He is Senior Clinical Oncologist at St Bartholomew's Hospital and has a special interest in advances in radio-therapeutic treatments for cancer.

For further information, please contact: Kim Markus on 020 7935 7700.

For press enquires, please contact: Neil Huband on 07808 298989 or 020 7436 6372 or Malcolm McCoskery on 020 7935 7700.


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