The first dual RapidArc® super-fast, super-accurate radio therapy systems are installed at the Harley Street Cancer Centre in central London
27 October 2009
RapidArc - the biggest advance in linear accelerator radiotherapy for many years - has been installed at the renowned Harley Street Cancer Centre, the first such technology to become operational in London.
RapidArc delivers radiotherapy faster and with a greater level of accuracy than previous linear accelerators. Linked to a unique tumour mapping system, the RapidArc travels around a patient targeting tumours from 360 degrees in just two minutes, rather than 20 minutes of exposure with older systems. It delivers radiation, following the contours of cancers, in one rotation giving better coverage of the tumour volume with far less damage to nearby healthy tissue.
In the case of prostate cancer for example, prior to the introduction of RapidArc, patients could sometimes suffer radiation damage to the bladder or the rectum but this new system is safer and more comfortable for the patient. In addition, in the past, radiation doses had to be delivered slowly from one direction in several sessions spread over a period of several weeks, but now, all that is in the past.
The Harley Street Cancer Centre is the hub of the HCA CancerCare network, the largest provider of cancer care in the UK outside the NHS. Based at The Harley Street Clinic, the £3.5 million radiotherapy machines are the latest additions to this year's £25 million investment programme in the latest technology. The cancer centre recently became the first hospital in the UK to install the revolutionary robotic CyberKnife® radiosurgery system.
Chief Executive Neil Buckley said the addition of the new state of the art radiotherapy machines meant that The Harley Street Clinic now had the most technologically advanced cancer network in Europe. "In a matter of just a few months we have opened the new CyberKnife centre, The London Gamma Knife centre for the treatment of brain tumours which we have based at St Bartholomew's Hospital and now, the two RapidArc machines - in addition to new CT, PETCT and MRI scanning and mapping equipment that is either already installed or in the process of being installed," he said. "And this is in addition to our special blood and bone cancer centre at University College Hospital."
"We now have the most comprehensive cancer care service in Europe as we treat every type of cancer for every age," said Mr Buckley. "As well as all the new technology, we are growing our network of diagnostic and treatment centres around London so that patients can get fast access to see one of our 700 top consultants closer to where they live or work."
"Nowadays patients want access to the very best diagnosis and without having to make arduous journeys. We are currently fitting out two new diagnostic and outpatient centres and we'll be making further announcements about the expansion of our cancer network later this year, including the new nuclear medicine centre in Harley Street," said Mr Buckley.
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