Cyberknife at Barts, London

Very excited to have been invited to St James’ Palace this evening by Barts and the London Charity.

The Charity have pledged to raise funds so that Cyberknife can be installed and offered to patients at Barts Hospital, London.  Cyberknife technology is proving a real advancement for patients who require radiotherapy treatment in difficult to reach places or perhaps where a tumour is located near a vital organ.  Historically radiotherapy targets an area of tissue but the radiation area is larger than the target area, thereby radiating tissue that isn’t affected by a tumour.  Since radiotherapy was developed for its use with cancer patients, the treatment has evolved to become more specifically targeted but also with more knowledge about the strength of radiation needed.

Cyberknife is a much further advance and is hailed as being able to tackle many previously ‘untreatable’ tumours.  However the equipment doesn’t come cheap.  It also requires a location that is specifically refurbished to ensure no leaks of radiation.  All staff require lengthy training of the equipment.  Even the installation period and ‘balancing’ time required can be time-consuming.  But each stage is incredibly vital to ensuring the technology is used in the best and most effective way, targeting very minute areas of tissue and reaching those previously untreatable areas.

We saw an incredibly impressive video demonstrating the Cyberknife and it’s capabilities.  We heard from the charity about the fundraising efforts (including the London Freemason’s invaluable input).  Amazingly the £2.5m has been raised and works are underway to complete all the necessary changes, training and balancing of the machine so it can be used as soon as possible.

I’m quite sure there will still be a huge wait for patients to be treated with Cyberknife however the benefits it offers to patients is enormous.  Not only do they have more targeted therapy but, as I understand it, often the quantity of radiotherapy appointments is less as the targeting is providing better outcomes.

Barts Health – Cyberknife
YouTube – tour of Cyberknife at Barts
Accuray’s Patient guide to Cyberknife
Freemasons fundraising

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