Wednesday, February 9, 2011
New radiotherapy device that can cure cancer within minutes
Ah, the wonders of modern science! A new radiotherapy device that promises an extremely precise and accurate treatment with the ability to destroy malignant cells in a 15 minute procedure brings new hope to patients with inoperable brain cancer [abnormal cells that divide without control, which can invade nearby tissues or spread through the bloodstream and lymphatic system to other parts of the body. ] .
This device, called Novalis Tx uses 'satnav' in targeting the tumor without affecting surrounding healthy brain tissue.
Novalis Tx treatment has the ability treat the patients with small malignancies virtually anywhere in the body in just a single session.
Dr Brian Haylock, Consultant Oncologist and Clinical Director for Radiotherapy at Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology, explained, "Unlike some other highly specialised radiation [use of high-energy radiation from x-rays, neutrons, and other sources to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors] treatment machines, the Novalis Tx can treat many different types of cancer [abnormal cells that divide without control, which can invade nearby tissues or spread through the bloodstream and lymphatic system to other parts of the body. ] all over the body allowing us to treat more cancer patients with a single device.
"This coupled with the speed with which we can treat patients - in some cases in as little as 15 minutes in just one session - means the equipment will be available for the benefit of more patients here in the UK."
Quick accurate and painless procedure
The new technology will provide patients a painless alternative to surgical removal of tumors enabling them to undergo a same-day, outpatient procedure.
In some cases, the Novalis Tx machine will lead to a complete disappearance of the tumor in a matter of minutes.
Until now, patients with brain tumors needing radiotherapy were placed in a metal mask or a frame to completely restrict the head's movement and keep them still.
However, the new system requires the patient to simply lie on a robotic bed which can move to ensure precise targeting of brain abnormalities with a single blast of extremely high radiotherapy dose.
Mr Mohsen Javadpour, Consultant Neurosurgeon at The Walton Centre stated, “The technology allows us to track and treat difficult-to-treat cancers such as tumours really deep in the brain where open surgery is too dangerous.
“Another great benefit of the knifeless Novalis Tx treatment over open brain surgery is the incredibly reduced recovery times for patients. Most treatments can be performed as a day case or will require a minimum hospital stay.”
Novalis Tx launched
The Novalis Tx was launched yesterday at Liverpool’s new Clatterbridge Cancer Centre next to the Walton Centre in Fazakerley.
It will also be installed at the specialist cancer centre at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh around June this year.
The new technology is all set to be used for the first time next week to cure brain tumours.
Sue Farrington-Smith, director of the charity Brain Tumour Research stated, "We are delighted that advanced brain tumour treatments like the Novalis Tx are now available to cancer patients on the NHS.
"The work of Clatterbridge and The Walton Centre Trusts in Liverpool will undoubtedly provide the best cancer care for their patients."