The new West of Scotland Cancer Centre will soon be one of only a handful of cancer centres throughout the world with a package of the very latest equipment for delivering radiotherapy.
An order worth more than £4million has just been placed for three state-of-the-art Linear Accelerators (the machines which deliver radiation for cancer treatment). Moreover, the five accelerators already in place at the Tom Wheldon Centre are also to get an upgrade – bringing all our equipment up to the highest standard. In 2006 a further three linear accelerators will be bought to bring the total at the new West of Scotland Cancer Centre to 11.
To complement these new state-of-science linear accelerators we have bought the best equipment that money can buy. Professor Alan Rodger, Medical Director of the Beatson Oncology Centre, explained: "One of the highlights of our order includes new special image guided radiotherapy (IGRT) equipment that can treat tumours with more accuracy and safety than ever before. Tumours can move even in the short space of time between planning the treatment and carrying it out. With IGRT we can take further images of the patient's tumour to confirm they are in the right place and adjust our treatment set-up if necessary."
In addition, we have been able to invest in extra technology in the form of stereotactic radiosurgery from a company called BrainLAB. This will allow us at the Beatson to deliver for the first time very small beams of radiation to small areas of the brain and the base of skull in patients with a variety of malignant and benign tumours of these areas.
Professor Rodger said:"It means than we can target these types of tumour with more precision than we have ever been able to before with the most advanced technology in the world today."
Ralf Schira from BrainLAB said: "We are excited that patients in Scotland can now also benefit from BrainLAB's proven m3 radiosurgery system. The m3 beam shaping device provides the highest accuracy and safety for the treatment of small lesions in the brain. Shaping the treatment beam to conform precisely, and in three dimensions, to the outline of the patient's tumour spares healthy tissue from unnecessary radiation meaning patients benefit from reduced side effects and better clinical results."
Professor Rodger added that so advanced is this new package of equipment that research is still ongoing and the Beatson will be at the very forefront of such developments. Michael Sandhu from Varian, the company who manufacture the new linear accelerators said: "The West of Scotland Cancer Centre being equipped with the most cutting edge radiotherapy equipment available today means that patients in the region will extremely well served by one of the biggest facilities of its type in Europe."
To complete this unrivalled package the latest computer software has been purchased, creating an electronic environment within the West of Scotland Cancer Centre. The computer software will allow a faster transfer of electronic patient tumour images, achieve electronic patient records, and enable staff to book and schedule patients for treatment and also prescribe medicines electronically.
Alan Rodger said: "With the exception of surgery, radiotherapy is undoubtedly the most effective form of treatment in the fight against cancer. As such we wanted to ensure that we had the very best technology available on the market today so we can use radiotherapy to optimum effect. Our exciting package of equipment – the very latest in terms of smart science technology – will mean that cancer patients from across the West of Scotland who need radiotherapy will receive the best treatment offered anywhere in the world today."
The package of new equipment, which will arrive in 2005, was paid for through generous funding of £4million from the Scottish Executive and a very generous donation of £377,000 from the Robertson Trust.
Sir Lachlan MacLean, Secretary to The Robertson Trust said: "The Trustees of The Robertson Trust are delighted to have provided funding for the new special Image Guided Radiotherapy facility and associated equipment at the Beatson Oncology Centre. This will provide Professor Rodger and his team with some of the most advanced equipment available to treat cancer patients in the West of Scotland."
Professor Rodger added: "All of us at the Beatson Oncology Centre and the West of Scotland Cancer Centre are extremely grateful to both the Scottish Executive and The Robertson Trust and to our skilled staff who selected and negotiated this superb equipment package."
Media Information: Emma Gregory on 0141 201 3964.
Notes to Editors:
The final phase of the £100 million West of Scotland Cancer Centre is currently under construction and will be complete by 2007.
When the new West of Scotland Cancer Centre opens on the site of Gartnavel General Hospital it will provide the most modern environment for cancer care and offer the finest professional facilities. It will also bring all North Glasgow's specialist oncology services – including haemato-oncology and palliative care services – under one roof for the first time.
The new state -of-the-art centre will be fully equipped to support the delivery of the most modern cancer care in a light, relaxed environment for both patients and staff.
Images of the new linear accelerators and other equipment are available on request.