puts its new Versa HD™ linear accelerator (linac ) into clinical service this week, it will be Ireland’s first hospital to offer a form of advanced radiotherapy that can almost halve delivery times.
The Galway Clinic Radiotherapy Department treats some 500 patients a year for a range of cancers. The majority of cases are prostate and breast cancer, but the centre also treats brain, lung, rectum, gastric and gynaecological tumours, and delivers palliative treatments for symptoms such as pain.
Versa HD offers advanced radiotherapy techniques that provide high precision treatment of a range of cancers in the head and neck, lung, breast and prostate. It has the ability to continually reshape the radiation beam to the fine contours of the tumour so a higher dose of radiation can be delivered. The linac was designed in collaboration with clinical partners, so it is fine-tuned to the patient’s needs.
For complex head and neck cancers, treatment with Versa HD can be delivered 42 percent faster than previous generation linacs. For some prostate cancer patients, treatment can now be delivered over five days rather than six weeks. With the ability to treat more patients in a day, clinics can increase efficiency and make advanced radiotherapy techniques available for more patients.
Mark Samsa, Radiotherapy Services Manager at the Galway Clinic, said: “The Galway Clinic was the first hospital to bring radiotherapy to the west of Ireland almost 10 years ago. Prior to this, the people of the Connacht region travelled to Dublin or Cork for this important treatment.”
Mark Samsa added "With the latest technology, we will be able to reduce patient side effects while delivering highly accurate and targeted radiation treatment for cancers, such as inoperable brain and lung tumours. Compared to previous generation systems this can be done in almost half the time.”
Elekta’s Business Manager for Ireland, Paddy Greally, says that in Ireland, there are 10 radiotherapy centres, with 26 linac machines, however a recent study3 published in The Lancet highlighted that there is a shortage of radiation therapy equipment in Ireland. There is a clear need to invest in new equipment to meet patient demand. The launch of Ireland’s first VersaHD at the Galway Centre is a positive step forward to improve patient treatment and access to the latest advances in radiotherapy."