Revolutionary new cancer treatment comes a step closer

12th December 2016

Revolutionary new cancer treatment comes a step closer - image 1Revolutionary new cancer treatment comes a step closer - image 2


Next year marks the anniversaries of two landmark scientific and medical breakthroughs – the 50th anniversary of the world’s first heart transplant and the 20th anniversary of Dolly the Sheep, the world’s first cloned mammal.

It will also, hopefully, see the start of another major advance in the treatment of cancer patients.

A groundbreaking new radiotherapy machine that can track the changing the position of tumours in real time is expected to come into use in the second half of 2017.

The pictures above shows the four-tonne magnet that forms a key part of the £10.1 million MR Linac machine being installed through a skylight at a purpose-built bunker at the Royal Marsden Hospital’s Sutton site where it will be based.

Uniquely, MR Linac combines two technologies for the first time – an MR scanner and linear accelerator enabling it to precisely locate tumours and deliver does of radiation at the same time.

Revolutionary new cancer treatment comes a step closer - image 3This is a step change in cancer treatment as it means tumours can be tracked and treated simultaneously – important given that many tumours shift position so their position identified in a scan could be out of date by the time it comes to radiotherapy.

As head of the Head and Neck Cancer unit at the Royal Marsden Hospital and Chair (Professor of Radiotherapy) at the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), I was closely involved in securing funding for the pioneering MR Linac technology and bringing it to the UK, in collaboration with Elekta.

Before the machine is used to treat patients, the system will be thoroughly tested to ensure every measurement is finely tuned for precision accuracy. 

In the meantime may I wish you a very merry Christmas and best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year! 

For more information about my work visit my CV page, or contact me here.


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