Beacon Hospital now has Ireland’s most advanced Radiotherapy machine, The Varian Edge

Beacon Hospital has announced that it now has Ireland’s most advanced radiotherapy machine, The Varian Edge. Having offered radiotherapy since 2007, Beacon Hospital is a leading provider of this cancer treatment option, which uses high doses of radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumours, without the need for incisions. The new machine will upgrade and enhance this service, as it allows for higher doses of radiation, to be targeted with even more accuracy at tumours. It has less impact on surrounding tissues and allows for even better results and fewer treatments for patients.

This is the first and only machine of its kind in Ireland and with only 3 in the UK and 130 worldwide it means that Ireland now has access to the very latest technology to treat cancer. By 2020, 1 in 2 people in Ireland will develop cancer during their lifetime.

The technology is used to treat tumours found in brain, spine and lung cancer patients, as well as tumours in other areas of the body that are difficult to reach surgically.

With sub-millimetre end-to-end accuracy and advanced mobility, the system enables consultants to treat tumours from nearly any angle while minimising the risk to surrounding healthy tissue. It has a real-time tracking system that enables Consultant Radiation Oncologists to detect slight tumour movement.

With every facet of this system working together to ensure SRS requirements are met, Consultant Radiation Oncologists can focus on delivering quality treatments.

With some treatment sessions taking as little as 15 minutes and the absence of an incision, it means the patient does not require a hospital stay and can quickly get back to their lives.

It also allows for breathing to be monitored during treatment, giving the patient a more comfortable experience. This is made possible with advanced motion-management techniques that aids doctors in protecting surrounding healthy tissue.

The Edge represents an evolution in the way radiotherapy delivered. It is a state-of-the-art linear accelerator coupled with real-time motion management to ensure fast, precise delivery of treatment. With the Edge system, consultants may be able to treat more patients because of the speed and precision of the technology.

Beacon Hospital has invested €3.2 million in the new machine. This comes as part of a broader two-year plan (2018-2019) that is seeing over €30m being invested in Beacon Hospital to enhance services, equipment and facilities.

The new machine comes as Beacon Hospital continues to lead the way when it comes to radiotherapy treatment. It has the most experienced radiotherapy stereotactic team in the country. It follows other firsts at Beacon Hospital. For example, it was the first centre in Ireland to offer Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) to areas throughout the body other than just the brain. SRS is a non-surgical radiation therapy used to treat functional abnormalities and small tumours. It has been offering this service for 12 years and has taken part in significant international research on the expanding role of stereotactics.

Professor John G. Armstrong, Director, Radiation Therapy Department at Beacon Hospital said:

“We’re delighted to introduce Ireland’s most advanced radiotherapy machine, The Varian Edge to our Cancer Care Centre. The first and only machine of its kind in Ireland, the Edge upgrades our current radiotherapy machine to the latest technology, using extreme precision to target and destroy tumours faster and more effectively. The new machine treats patients with higher doses of radiation with more accuracy, with less impact to surrounding tissues. This ultimately may lead to better results and less treatments for the patient.”

Michael Cullen, CEO of Beacon Hospital said:

“We have been treating patients with radiotherapy here at Beacon Hospital since 2007.  Our pioneering team are involved in international research and are constantly looking at new and innovative ways to improve treatments, so with the introduction of the new Edge our patients now have access to the most advanced radiotherapy machine in Ireland. Our Cancer Care Centre offers a complete range of services including diagnostics, surgery, medical and radiation oncology, all delivered by highly qualified professionals in one central location.

“This significant investment underpins our broader growth strategy that is seeing over €30 million being invested over two years to ensure we continue to have the very best services, equipment and facilities.”

In addition to Professor John G. Armstrong, the team at Beacon Hospital includes Dr Alina Mihai, Consultant Radiation Oncologist and Dr Pierre Thirion, Consultant Radiation Oncologist.

Already, Beacon Hospital are leading the way in radiotherapy and treatment for cancer:

  • Beacon Hospital offers tattoo-less radiotherapy. Previously patients treated required permanent marks or tattoos to aid with positioning. This is no longer the case due to VisionRT technology and patients are no longer left with a permanent reminder of their treatment.
  • It offers a non-invasive treatment for brain tumours using real-time patient monitoring. This monitoring allows consultants to deliver treatments with sub millimetre accuracy, using an open mask and VisionRT monitoring system. This improves patient comfort as their faces are not covered for the treatment.
  • It was the first centre in Ireland to offer Stereotactic Ablative Radiotherapy, which it has provided since 2008. This treatment, used for most body parts, allows more accurate and precise delivery of treatment, with fewer sessions compared to conventional treatment. It is used for patients that are not suitable for surgery. It is non-invasive, so requires less recovery time.
  • Additionally, it was the first centre to offer Deep Inspiration Breath-hold technique for left sided breast cancer. This treatment reduces toxicity to the heart and lungs.
  • It offers patients the opportunity to participate in clinical trials when appropriate to their disease. Most recently it was the first site outside of the US and Canada to participate and enrol a patient in a prostate cancer trial.
  • It is a leader in radiotherapy not only nationally, but also internationally. For 7 years, it has been running an annual Stereotactic Radiosurgery and Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy Symposium, with 150 delegates attending from around the world.

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