UK's Sixth TomoTherapy Installation Unveiled by Cancer Tsar

Posted on Mar 01, 2011

The government's cancer tsar, Professor Mike Richards, has today officially unveiled the UK's sixth TomoTherapy installation at the Nottingham Radiotherapy Centre at Nottingham City Hospital. Supplied by Shrewsbury's Oncology Systems Limited (OSL), the TomoTherapy machine offers the most advanced radiotherapy cancer treatment for people across the East Midland.

The new £21.6million facility will see more than 3,000 cancer patients treated, an increase in current capacity of 50%. Russell Hart, Radiotherapy Service Manager said: " We are thrilled to be introducing TomoTherapy technology. Benefits include better access for our patients to what we believe is the best delivery system for complex image-guided, intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IG-IMRT). The new machine will also 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.

We believe our equipment stategy will provide us with a full range of treatment options for the population we serve, with the TomoTherapy system best able to deliver the most complex dose distributions."

Commenting on the key role TomoTherapy is playing at the new facility, Julie Mead, Director and Clinical Advisor at Oncology Systems Limited, said: "The oncology team at Nottingham put all equipment vendors through a rigorous clinical and technical public tender evaluation. They clearly concluded that the TomoTherapy platform would bring significant benefits to a centre that is reported as having one of the busiest patient throughput figures per treatment machine, across the UK. Already having a linac IMRT programme in place, the Nottingham Radiotherapy Centre could also see the improvement in treatment quality that TomoTherapy technology would bring, along with centre-wide efficiency gains from allocating advanced treatments to the unit. In difficult financial times, the TomoTherapy platform offers not only the best quality radiotherapy, but also the highest efficiency for advanced IG-IMRT. The NHS needs to look at cost-effectiveness and TomoTherapy fits the bill."

Russell Hart adds: "We treat between 35 to 50 patients per normal working day on our linear accelerators, depending on the complexity of the work being undertaken. We aim to maintain those figures and utilise TomoTherapy technology to its maximum, by treating up to 35 patients per day. Other NHS TomoTherapy customer sites have demonstrated that this is possible, but of course this will be a tremendous achievement in Nottingham as we clearly expect that the treatments delivered on the TomoTherapy unit will have far higher quality and complexity than what is feasible on the linear accelerator it is replacing."

Professor Mike Richards said: " 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 and chemotherapy have all contributed to this and I am delighted that patients in Nottingham now have acess to state-of-the-art facilities."

Professor Richards led development of the NHS Cancer Plan in 2000, the first comprehensive strategy to tackle cancer in England, and was closely involved in the establishment of the National Cancer Reseach Institute.

Features of the new Nottingham Radiotherapy Centre include:

  • A TomoTherapy treatment suite - NUH is one of just six NHS trusts in the country to have such a facility
  • Two additional LINAC suites of the hightest specification (bringing the total to six machines at Nottingham City Hospital)
  • Two CT simulation rooms - the CT scanners allow 3D images of patients' bodies to find out exactly where radiation treatment is needed.
  • Use of natural binding materials and skylights to maximise the use of natural daylight - in keeping with the Trust's commitment to sustainability.

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