22 October 2013
First Gamma Knife Centre in South West Opens in Bristol
Bristol Gamma Knife Centre at Bristol Haematology and Oncology
Centre has begun treating its first patients.
This new facility is the first of its kind outside London and
the North of England and will benefit patients with acoustic
neuroma, meningioma, pituitary tumours, brain metastases,
trigeminal neuralgia and vascular abnormalities, many of whom
currently need to travel to Sheffield for treatment.
Dr Alison Cameron, lead clinician for Gamma Knife, says:
"Intracranial stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) is a highly
advanced, precise, technical radiotherapy treatment for brain
tumours and other brain disorders. Our clinical team already have a
wealth of experience treating patients successfully with SRS for
the past 11 years using the traditional LINAC (Linear accelerator)
based radiotherapy system. The new Gamma Knife 'perfexion'
will allow the service to develop so that patients who would have
had to be referred elsewhere for treatment can now be treated in
"Gamma Knife is a very precise machine that can deliver SRS in
the brain. It uses 192 tiny beams of radiotherapy from
cobalt-60 sources which are focused on the abnormality in the
brain. The Gamma Knife 'perfexion' has very advanced
technology and software, allowing the team to conform the
radiotherapy beams to the abnormality being treated. This
results in the lesion receiving a very high dose of radiotherapy
with a very steep drop off into the surrounding area, so that
normal brain tissue receives minimal dose, and therefore reduced
"Currently, we're treating 90 patients per year," she notes.
"With Perfexion we expect to treat 160 patients in the first year
and 200 patients yearly from the second year on."
Mr Nik Patel, consultant neurosurgeon at North Bristol NHS
Trust, said: "Bristol Gamma Knife Centre will offer a minimally
invasive, precise and safer alternative way to treat many brain
conditions, and is certainly going to complement the other advanced
neurosurgical treatments offered at Frenchay Hospital, North
Bristol NHS Trust. The unit implementation certainly represents a
great success, not only for the region, but the dynamic cross-city
collaboration between the two trusts."
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