15 June 2015
UH Bristol selected for national evaluation of new radiotherapy treatment
University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust (UH Bristol)
has been selected by NHS England to evaluate an innovative new form
of radiotherapy treatment.
The Bristol Haematology and Oncology Centre (BHOC) has been
selected as one of 17 centres nationwide to participate in NHS
England's commissioning through evaluation (CTE) programme of
stereotactic ablative body radiotherapy (SABR) - a modern, more
precise delivery technique of radiotherapy, which delivers high
doses of radiation while causing less damage to surrounding healthy
tissue than conventional radiotherapy.
Evidence shows that SABR can be effective when used to treat
non-small cell lung cancer. The NHS already funds this, and since
February 2014, the BHOC has been offering SABR treatment to NHS
patients with non-small cell lung cancer, whose other health issues
mean they are not suitable for surgery to remove the tumour.
However, there is less clinical evidence to show that SABR is
effective for other cancers. To gather the evidence it needs, NHS
England is working with the clinical and research community to
assess the use of SABR to treat a wider range of cancer
The nationwide CTE programme will increase the number of cancers
being treated to include oligometastatic disease (cancer that is in
an early stage of spread to another part of the body), primary
liver tumours and the re-irradiation of cancers in the pelvis and
spine, with the BHOC offering the treatment for oligometastatic
A patient's clinician will identify whether they are a potential
candidate for the programme and they will be referred on where
Charles Comins, consultant clinical oncologist at the BHOC,
said: "We're delighted to have been selected as the only Trust in
the South West to take part in NHS England's CTE programme for
SABR. This programme recognises the contribution that advanced
radiotherapy techniques can have in treating patients with cancer.
We are keen to build on our centre's experience in using SABR for
peripheral lung tumours. The programme will allow us to use SBAR to
treat patients whose cancer has spread to other organs. Initially,
this will be for lung tumours, but as the programme develops we
will be able to treat liver, lymph node, bone and adrenal tumours
using this technique."
Steve Blake, head of radiotherapy physics at UH Bristol, said:
"We welcome the invitation to contribute to this programme. It will
be an opportunity for us to demonstrate the advantages of modern
treatment techniques and the culmination of a period of investment
in new technology. Our team are pleased to be able to use their
expertise to build on the positive early results for the benefit of
Sean Duffy, National Clinical Director for Cancer at NHS
England, said: "This is a great day for hundreds of cancer patients
who will now be able to access this cutting-edge innovative
treatment up and down the country. This programme will allow
us to assess this promising type of radiotherapy while enabling
people who may benefit to access it as close to home as possible."
NHS England's investment in the Commissioning through Evaluation
programme is in addition to its pledge to fund up to £6m over the
next five years to cover the NHS treatment costs of SABR clinical
trials funded by Cancer Research UK.
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