OSL Welcomes Drive to Improve Cancer Survival Rates

Posted on Jan 01, 2011

Shrewsbury-based Oncology Systems Limited (OSL) which develops innovative technology in the field of radiation therapy, has welcomed the drive to increase access to radiotherapy services in order to make England's cancer survival rate among the best in Europe. The initiative to ensure all patients are able to get this critical treatment was announced today, by Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley.

Julie Mead, OSL Director and Clinical Advisor said: "Early detection of cancer will undoubtedly save lives, but only if patients receive the right treatment. Research has shown that most people rate other cancer treatments - surgery, chemotherapy or targeted drugs - higher than radiotherapy as cutting edge treatments. There is a lack of awareness of the benefits of radiotherapy and the number of people who could benefit."

According to figures published by Cancer Research UK, only one in ten people know that radiotherapy helps cure 40 per cent of cancer patients. A report from the national charity estimates that only 38 per cent of cancer patients in England are getting radiotherapy although research shows that up to 50 per cent might benefit.

OSL is the sole distributer of the helical TomoTherapy treatment machine, which provides unprecendented precise, targeted, image guided intensity modulated radiotherapy. There are more than 300 installations of the machine worldwide, but just six hospitals using the technology in the UK.

Julie adds: "The UK lags behind America and Europe in introducing new, more targeted radiotherapy technology. The technology we have introduced to the UK offers many benefits to patients. It delivers sophisicated radiation treatments with speed and precision while reducing radiation exposure to surrounding healthy tissue. It can therefore be used to treat hard to reach tumours that often sit close to healthy organs."

James Cook University Hospital (JCUH) in Middlesbrough is one of the six hospitals that have invested in the technology. Christopher Walker, head of Radiotherapy Physics at James Cook, said: "Procurement of the TomoTherapy system has provided Middlesbrough with an 'off the shelf' technical solution to the challenges faced in delivering high quality radiotherapy. The TomoTherapy solution has allowed us to leapfrog to a position of excellence in cancer care in the UK."

The cancer Tsar, Professor Mike Richards (pictured) unveiled the latest TomoTherapy machine on Monday this week at the Nottingham Radiotherapy Centre, part of Nottingham University Hospitals (NHS) Trust. Professor Richard commented: "It is a great privilege to be invited back to Nottingham to open this wonderful new radiotherapy centre. In the 30 years since I worked here as a medical registrar major progress has been made on cancer, with improvements in survival for many types of cancer. Improvements in surgery, radiotherapy amd chemotherapy have all contributed to this and I am delighted that patients in Nottingham now have access to state-of-the-art facilities. ". Russell Hart, Radiotherapy Service Manager of the centre, said: "The new machine will mean that there will be some patients for whom curative treatment will now be possible whereas in the past treatment would only have been offered on a palliative basis. A clear advantage of the TomoTherapy system has been the rapid installation time. This has enabled us to have the technology available in a short space of time - much quicker than a conventional linear accelerator."

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