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UK’s first Novalis Tx™ radiosurgery system launched

Today for the first time in the UK Novalis Tx™ radiosurgery is available to NHS patients.

This device offers the possibility of a cure to those with inoperable tumours.

The advanced radiosurgery system shows the continued investment of the NHS in improving cancer care in England, ensuring patients have access to the high precision radiation therapy.

The Novalis Tx enables doctors to treat patients with tumours virtually anywhere in the body accurately and painlessly in just a single session.

Its combination of image-guidance, motion management systems and one of the highest dose rates enables Novalis Tx to destroy cancerous cells whilst protecting surrounding healthy tissue.

Treatment is also made more patient-friendly through the use of an advanced technique known as frameless radiosurgery; an alternative to the historical practice that requires immobilisation with an invasive head ring affixed to the skull.

In its first year of operation the Novalis Tx, installed at the brand new Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, Liverpool, is expected to treat over 800 cancer patients.

It is estimated that 150 of these patients will be priority brain tumour patients where precise, non-invasive treatment is particularly effective.

Clatterbridge and The Walton Centre have worked in partnership to bring this revolutionary treatment option to UK patients.

Later this year a further two Novalis Tx machines will become operational at specialist NHS cancer centres in Edinburgh and Manchester, further improving patients’ access to world-leading cancer treatment.

Installation of Novalis Tx supports the Department of Health’s recent cancer strategy, to help drive improvements in cancer survival rates through investment in radiotherapy services.

Treatment with Novalis Tx, developed by Varian medical Systems and Brainlab, will be considered for any patient in the UK for should their local healthcare teams agree it is suitable.

Dr Brian Haylock, Consultant Oncologist and Clinical Director for Radiotherapy at Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology, said: “Unlike some other highly specialised radiation treatment machines, the Novalis Tx can treat many different types of cancer in different parts of the body allowing us to treat more patients with a single device. This coupled with the speed with which we can treat – in some cases in as little as 15 minutes – means the equipment will be available for the benefit of more patients here in the UK.”

Almost 300,000 people are diagnosed with cancer in the UK each year and recent estimates show that of these almost 50,000 people develop either primary or secondary brain tumours.

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 352.

Mr Mohsen Javadpour, Consultant Neurosurgeon at The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust, will be one of the first to refer patients for treatment with Novalis Tx radiosurgery. Mr Javadpour said: “The technology of the Novalis Tx allows us to track and treat difficult-to-treat cancers, such as tumours really deep in the brain where open surgery is too dangerous. Another great benefit of the knifeless Novalis Tx treatment over open brain surgery is the incredibly reduced recovery times for patients. Most treatments can be performed as a day case or will require a minimum hospital stay compared to open surgery.”

Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology’s new purpose-built facility will be equipped with the Novalis Tx radiosurgery system and two other radiotherapy treatment systems, together with expert cancer rehabilitation and support services.