Press Releases

New Cancer Treatment Device goes into Service Today

Experts welcome latest advance as promising development for UK patients

A treatment system called the Novalis Tx™ has gone into service today, which has the ability to destroy cancerous cells virtually anywhere in the body in a single, 20-minute session, without the need for a single cut of the scalpel.

The Novalis Tx, installed in The Christie at Salford Royal, a brand new radiotherapy centre in the North West, treats cancer using a specialised technique called radiosurgery which is especially beneficial for tumours of the brain and spine previously thought untreatable by surgeons.

Using powerful, highly accurate beams of radiation shaped to fit the precise shape of even the most complex tumours, the 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 skull1.

Rachel Good, Christie radiotherapy manager for the new centre, says: “The Novalis TxTM 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.”

News will be welcomed by the 300,000 people in the UK diagnosed with cancer each year . Of these 50,000 people are estimated to develop either primary or secondary brain tumours , where traditional treatment is difficult to provide. Malignant primary brain tumours take more years off the average person’s life than any other cancer and are the most significant cause of cancer death amongst men under 45 years and women under 353.

Ms Tina Karabatsou, Consultant Neurosurgeon at the Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, says: “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.”

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 developed by Varian Medical Systems and Brainlab in England and Scotland, improving access to advanced cancer care to patients across the UK.

Helen Bulbeck, Director of patient charity Brainstrust, comments: “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 US. 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.”

About Brainlab

Brainlab develops, manufactures and markets software-driven medical technology that supports targeted, less-invasive treatment. Core products are image-guided systems and software that provide
real-time information used for surgical navigation and radiosurgical planning and delivery.

Brainlab technology drives collaboration between hospitals and clinicians from a wide variety of subspecialties—from neurosurgery and oncology to orthopedics, ENT, CMF and spine and trauma. This integration delivers better access to improved and more efficient treatment.

Founded in 1989, the privately held Brainlab group has more than 5,000 systems installed in over 80 countries. Based in Munich, Germany, Brainlab employs 970 people in 16 offices worldwide.

To learn more, visit www.brainlab.com.

About Varian Medical Systems

Varian Medical Systems, Inc., of Palo Alto, California, is the world's leading manufacturer of medical devices and software for treating cancer and other medical conditions with radiotherapy, radiosurgery, proton therapy, and brachytherapy. The company supplies informatics software for managing comprehensive cancer clinics, radiotherapy centres and medical oncology practices. Varian is a premier supplier of tubes and digital detectors for X-ray imaging in medical, scientific, and industrial applications and also supplies X-ray imaging products for cargo screening and industrial inspection. Varian Medical Systems employs approximately 5,100 people who are located at manufacturing sites in North America, China, and Europe and in its 79 sales and support offices around the world. For more information, visit www.varian.com.

About The Christie Foundation Trust

The Christie is one of the leading cancer centres in Europe treating about 40,000 patients every year and an international leader in research.

The new £18 million radiotherapy centre in Salford is part of a unique network of Christie radiotherapy centres to bring treatment closer to people’s homes. As well as being equipped to deliver stereotactic radiosurgery, a highly specialised neurosurgical technique for brain conditions, the centre will be treating 60 patients a day from the local area for the most common cancers like breast, bowel and lung.

About Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust

Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust is recognised as one of the best Trust’s in the NHS and aims to provide safe, clean and personal care to all patients. Salford Royal is large teaching Trust providing a range of medical, surgical, maternity and emergency services to the people of Salford. The Trust also offers specialist care to people from all over the UK who require expert tertiary help with, for example, neuroscience and kidney conditions. On 1 April 2011, Salford Royal integrated with Salford Community Health; the Trust now provides a range of community and primary care services. Our core purpose is to provide clinical, academic and service excellence ensuring the patient experience is at the forefront of care.

www.srft.nhs.uk

Press enquiries: Rob Jones
Contact: 01903 821550 / 07768 637786
Issued by: Pegasus Public Relations

1 Some doctors may opt for a minimally invasive head frame depending on the specific treatment and patient.
2 Cancer Research UK. Cancer incidence – UK statistics. 2007.

http://info.cancerresearchuk.org/cancerstats/incidence/ (Last accessed 18 Jul 2011)

3 A report on inequality of funding and profile of brain tumours, Brain Tumour Research, July 2009