Proton beam therapy is an advanced form of external radiotherapy that uses high-energy proton beams instead of photon x-ray beams or electrons. Carefully measured doses of protons are delivered to the precise area needing treatment, using the latest IBA ProteusONE technology. This ensures that the delivery of proton beam therapy is highly accurate and prevents the risk of radiation reaching surrounding healthy tissue.
Radiotherapy is used to kill and destroy cancer cells. It utilises radiation in the form of high-energy x-rays, known as photons, to kill and damage the cancerous cells and prevent their growth and reproduction. It can be used as a non-surgical option to treat cancer, and it can also be used to shrink a tumour or in combination with other treatments.
The Rutherford Cancer Centres and Elekta are bringing the next generation of personalised adaptive radiotherapy technology to oncology centres across the UK, with the new MR-linac Elekta Unity now available at the Rutherford Cancer Centre North West in Liverpool.
When a person receives the news of a cancer diagnosis, they will usually feel a full spectrum of emotions ranging from fear to uncertainty...
A big part of the work our teams at the Rutherford Cancer Centres do is to ease the emotions of each patient and their loved ones as much as possible. One of the ways we do this is to provide patients with as much information as possible about their diagnosis and their treatment options.
There are several different treatments a patient may be offered, depending on their individual needs and diagnosis. Treatments like chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery have long been used to treat various types of cancers.
In England, around one in every four patients diagnosed with cancer receives radiotherapy as part of their primary cancer treatment. Radiotherapy can be used to treat a wide range of cancers and some non-cancerous conditions and can be used either as a stand-alone treatment or in conjunction with other treatments. At our Rutherford Cancer Centre in the North West of England, we have a technology that delivers a new type of treatment called MR-linac radiotherapy. This technology marks the beginning of a new era that will help to transform patient care.
The MR-linac radiotherapy suite at Rutherford Cancer Centre North West.
How can MR-linac radiotherapy benefit cancer patients?
The goal of radiotherapy is to shrink or kill cancer cells whilst minimising unpleasant side effects by reducing damage to healthy cells surrounding the tumour. This can sometimes be tricky because the tumour might move during treatment. For example, tumours located in the lungs will move as the patient breathes, and tumours located in the bladder or bowel will move as the bladder fills up or the bowel moves. These are all instances in which healthy cells are at risk of damage from radiotherapy.
What makes MR-linac radiotherapy so innovative and unique, is that it brings together two very powerful technologies: magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) that provides direct real-time visualisation and clear definition of the tumour and surrounding tissue; and a powerful linear accelerator (Linac) that delivers highly focused and intense beams of targeted radiotherapy.
MR-linac radiotherapy means we can adopt a ‘scan, plan and treat approach’. So, the treatment team at the Rutherford Cancer Centres will be able to visualise daily changes to the shape and size of the tumour with sub-millimetre precision, plan to reshape the dose as required, and then treat with precision to preserve healthy tissue. This makes MR-linac radiotherapy one of the most adaptive forms of treatment for patients.
There is much excitement about the difference this technology will make – by personalising radiotherapy for patients, every time. For patients or loved ones going through a cancer diagnosis where MR-linac radiotherapy is offered as a treatment, the team at our Rutherford Cancer Centre North West will offer as much guidance, information, and support as possible.