UK’s first two TomoTherapy® TomoHD™ for Birmingham

Posted on Jun 23, 2011


Cancer patients across the West Midlands and Wales will soon have access to two of the world’s most advanced radiotherapy treatment machines. The state of the art TomoTherapy® TomoHD™ treatment systems, to be installed at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, will be the first in the UK and Europe’s first dual installation of TomoHDs. The machines are being provided by Shropshire-based Oncology Systems Limited (OSL), after money was raised in an on-going capital appeal by the hospital’s official charity and funds provided by the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust.

The two TomoHD™ machines will be installed by the autumn and the first patients treated before the end of 2011, making the hospital one of the most advanced cancer centres in Europe. Eight similar TomoTherapy® Hi·Art® radiotherapy treatment machines are already treating patients at selected hospitals in England.

Julie Mead, OSL clinical director said: “As an oncology professional living in the West Midlands, I am particularly pleased that people in the region will very soon have access to TomoTherapy® technology and the ground breaking treatment it delivers. It’s fantastic that the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, with the backing of its charity and supporters, is able to invest in two machines and offer patients the treatment quality that TomoTherapy® technology will bring.”

Mike Hammond, chief executive of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham Charity, said: “We would like to thank the local businesses and individuals whose generosity has allowed us to make the commitment to purchasing the TomoTherapy® machines so soon after the launch of our £6.5million capital appeal. But we haven’t reached our target yet. We aim to continue to raise funds to buy and install a complementary radiotherapy machine, the CyberKnife® system, to broaden the range of treatments we can offer.

“Our supporters should be very proud that they have made it possible for many more people diagnosed with cancer to receive treatment on these highly sophisticated TomoHD™ machines in the very near future.”

The TomoTherapy® TomoHD™ treatment system is a unique combined radiotherapy machine and CT scanner that delivers ultra precise, targeted image-guided intensity modulated radiotherapy. It enables clinicians to create 3D maps of the size and location of a tumour, plotting its exact contours and where it is in relation to sensitive tissue. Part of TomoTherapy’s ground breaking technology is that a single beam of radiation can be divided into thousands of tiny beamlets that deliver radiation from all angles quickly and painlessly, in a pattern planned by doctors and coordinated by computers. The precision targeting of the radiotherapy beam means that normal tissues can be better avoided which directly leads to fewer side effects and improved quality of life for patients. This in turn means that patients can go about their normal lives with minimal disruption during their course of treatment.

One way in which TomoTherapy® technology will be used by clinicians at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital is for the treatment of patients with head and neck cancer. Using this system enables doctors to treat the tumours and lymph nodes in the oral cavity, sinuses, and throat while reducing the radiation dose to the salivary glands. This is important because if these glands are damaged the patient can suffer a permanent dry mouth, leading to pain and difficulty when eating and drinking, drastically affecting their quality of life.

For more information about TomoTherapy® technology and to watch the TomoHD™ movie, visit To donate to the charity appeal, visit

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