Radiosurgery treatment for brain tumours available for UK patients

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Novalis Tx (Varian Medical Systems and Brainlab), a non-invasive system to treat brain tumours with radiosurgery has gone into service at The Christie at Salford Royal, a brand new radiotherapy centre at the North West area in the United Kingdom.  

Radiosurgery is an innovative technique which has the ability to destroy cancerous cells virtually anywhere in the body in a single 20-minute session. In neurosurgery, this technique allows physicians to treat complex brain tumours which are dangerous to treat with open surgery.


Using powerful, highly accurate beams of radiation shaped to fit the precise shape of even the most complex tumours, the Novalis Tx system is able to treat painlessly without the need for invasive surgery and with fewer side effects. The short treatment times of the system benefit both doctor and patient; and mean more patients can be treated on the system in one day. Patients are often able to attend clinic just as an outpatient, returning to life the same day. Frameless radiosurgery provides a patient-friendly alternative to techniques that require immobilisation with an invasive head ring that is affixed to the skull.

Rachel Good, Christie radiotherapy manager for the new centre, said, “The Novalis Tx was the perfect choice for the centre because it will help The Christie treat more patients by switching between specialised radiosurgery for tumours in the brain to standard radiotherapy for other cancers of the body. In our first year we are looking to treat 720 patients with the Novalis Tx, 120 of which will be priority brain tumour patients where precise, non-invasive treatment is particularly effective.”

“One of the fantastic advantages of the new Novalis Tx treatment is we will be able to treat brain conditions we were previously unable to treat; such as tumours really deep in the brain where open surgery is too dangerous. Equally important is the non-invasive nature of treatment, which means treatment sessions can be performed as an outpatient day-case and with significantly less side effects,” Tina Karabatsou, consultant neurosurgeon at the Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, said.

The launch of the high-quality treatment coincides with new guidelines released by the NHS National Cancer Action Team which state that radiosurgery should be made available to all suitable cancer patients in England. By the end of 2011 three sites will be treating with the Novalis Tx in England and Scotland.

Helen Bulbeck, director of patient charity Brainstrust, commented, “The launch of the Novalis Tx system is a huge stride towards modernising cancer care in the UK to levels seen in Europe and the USA. This is a great achievement for brain tumour treatment and one that we hope to see the NHS continue to build on in the years to come.”

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