This week saw the launch of our online adaptive radiotherapy treatment. The ground-breaking radiotherapy technique uses artificial intelligence (AI) to target tumours with extreme precision.
The Varian Ethos© machine is only the second of its type in use in the UK and when fully rolled out will help around 175 patients a year who are affected by cancer.
Revolutionary AI software used by the machine helps the radiotherapy team adapt and update each patient’s treatment plan in real time according to a patient’s anatomy on the day.
This approach to radiotherapy has the potential to improve treatment accuracy and reduce dose delivered to surrounding organs, thereby decreasing radiation side effects.
Patient experience is at the centre of the treatment room's design, using SkyInside© ceiling panels and calming lighting to help distract patients during treatment. The machine offers a choice of soothing overhead projections to watch, including beautiful underwater scenes, rain forest canopies, cherry blossom trees and starry night skies.
Marianne Dabbs, Associate Director of Operations for Oncology, explains:
“The Ethos AI software lets us fine tune and tailor patients’ treatments on the day to take into account any changes affecting their body, such as weight gain, or bladder or bowel emptiness compared with when they had their planning scan.
“It has many benefits, including anticipated improved accuracy. The environment is a fabulous space to improve experiences of both the patients and staff. There is also the potential for it to reduce the need for some invasive procedures where ‘markers’ are currently inserted to aid tumour location during radiotherapy.”
Peter Gable, 66, who was diagnosed with bladder cancer in April last year, is the first patient to receive the new online adaptive treatment. He said:
“It’s brilliant to have the chance to try out this new treatment with the latest technology. It looks a lot less clinical and daunting when I go into the treatment room and I can see how it’s going to make things simpler and easier for me.”
Louise Stead, the Trust’s Chief Executive, said:
“A great deal of work has gone into researching and investing in the best available options to treat our cancer patients and we’re excited to have this ground-breaking technology to help us achieve the very best health outcomes for them.
“We are extremely proud to be in the forefront of radiotherapy treatment and taking advantage of the latest AI software technology. There are only ten countries in the world offering this treatment and only one other Trust in the UK.
“At a time when the NHS is under extreme pressure from the Covid pandemic it is a lovely boost for our patients and staff to launch this new pioneering treatment.”