August 2013

The news stories within this section are provided for information only. The facts and views contained in each story are provided by the named news outlets. They do not represent the views of, nor are they endorsed by, Action Radiotherapy.

29 August

Outline plans for new radiotherapy facility get the green light
Initial plans to create a new satellite radiotherapy facility for the West of Scotland at Monklands Hospital in Airdrie have been given the green light.
East Kilbride News

Girl with brain tumour organises football fundraiser
An 11-year-old girl with cancer has helped to organise a fundraising football day, determined her illness won’t stop her. Erin Bates was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour in June. Yesterday, she had her last session of radiotherapy – and went straight onto the football pitch, where her friends were waiting for her.
ITV (Video)


27 August

NHS: Cancer care gets £30m boost with new radiotherapy machines
Thousands of NHS cancer patients will benefit from £30million worth of top new radiotherapy machines. The units – which use high-energy radiation to destroy cancer cells – will be used in hospitals across the country. They can deliver intensity modulated radiation therapy, vital for treatment of head and neck cancers because they are so accurate.
The Mirror

UK scientists develop cancer zapping beam
British scientists claim they have developed a revolutionary radiotherapy machine with a beam so intense it can destroy the most aggressive tumours without harming surrounding healthy tissue. The technology, being developed at the Cern physics laboratory in Switzerland, will allow more patients to have aggressive anticancer treatment without harmful side-effects.
Daily Express

PET/CT: an all-round tool for radiotherapy
Radiotherapy plans are generally created using a planning CT scan. But switching to a multimodal planning image – PET/CT – could increase the targeting accuracy and therapeutic efficacy of the delivered radiation.

Work continues on Worcestershire radiotherapy centre
Work is continuing at pace to build Worcestershire’s first radiotherapy centre. Construction at Worcestershire Royal Hospital, Worcester, is still on schedule with plans to open the centre in September next year, according to the county’s acute hospitals NHS trust.
The Shuttle


23 August

Will the NHS reforms give us a world-class radiotherapy service?
A science blog, by Cancer Research UK, looking at the changes to the structure of the NHS and how this is likely to affect radiotherapy services.
Cancer Research UK

New scan could help in treatment planning for individual patients
A type of non-invasive imaging method could help assess whether cancer patients are likely to respond to radiotherapy, a new study has shown. Scientists at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, demonstrated that a form of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can be used to detect and map low levels of oxygen within tumours – as a means of predicting if the disease will respond to radiation treatment.


22 August

Abstract: Radiotherapy for whole pelvis irradiation of locally advanced prostate cancer IMRT has the ability to deliver highly conformal dose to the target while lowering irradiation of critical organs around the prostate.
Volumetric-modulated arc therapy is able to reduce treatment time, but its impact on organ sparing is still controversial when compared to static gantry IMRT. This study compared the two techniques in simultaneous integrated boost plans.
URO Today (free registration required)

Abstract: Comparison of low-dose, half-rotation, cone-beam CT with electronic portal imaging device for registration of fiducial markers during prostate radiotherapy
This study evaluated the agreement of fiducial marker localization between two modalities – an electronic portal imaging device (EPID) and cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) – using a low-dose, half-rotation scanning protocol.
URO Today (free registration required)

Cambridge academics claim many breast cancer patients are undergoing ‘excessive’ treatment
Clinicians are being urged to treat the most common form of non-invasive breast cancer in a safer way by not providing “excessive” care. Prof John Benson and Prof Gordon Wishart of Anglia Ruskin University claim therapies like radiotherapy and tamoxifen are too often recommended for patients with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) – an early form of breast cancer commonly detected by screening – when they can do more harm than good.
Cambridge News

Lucky woman, 38, reveals how routine trip to opticians has saved her sight and her life
When Carolyne Thomson went for a routine eye test, she never expected to be told the devastating news that a massive life-threatening tumour was growing behind her eyes. The growth on her pituitary gland was so severe that Carolyne risked going blind and faced complex surgery and radiotherapy in a bid to save her sight.
Daily Record


21 August

Spinal radiosurgery ups risk of vertebral fracture
Vertebral compression fracture is a common adverse effect in patients receiving spine stereotactic body radiotherapy, according to research published online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
Medical Xpress

Researchers start clinical trials on neutron beams to treat cancer
Japanese researchers are developing a new radiation therapy for cancer that uses neutron beams. The potential applications for the Boron Neutron Capture Therapy are impressive. Researchers expect the neutron beams to treat tumors of complex shapes, cancer in multiple areas and recurrent cancer while avoiding most damage to normal cells.
The Asahi Shimbun

Brain tumour schoolgirl plans to play football hours after radiotherapy
11-year-old Erin Bates, from Tyne and Wear, was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour after just a week of symptoms. But the keen footballer is fighting back, and is in the midst of radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatment in a bid to shrink the tumour. The radiotherapy section of Erin’s treatment will finish on August 28. Amazingly, she is hoping to be well enough to join her team, Washington AFC under-12s, later that day for a charity football match.
Sunderland Echo


20 August

Innovation drives growth for exporters to emerging economies
New research shows that UK manufacturers are increasingly targeting innovative niche products which can be exported to emerging economies. Features a case study on Elekta, based in Crawley. Elekta is a specialist in image guided radio surgery and radiotherapy. The article also mentions St James’s University Hospital in Leeds.
Financial Times (registration required)


19 August

Parkinson completes cancer treatment
Broadcaster Sir Michael Parkinson is recovering well after completing treatment for prostate cancer. The popular chat show host, 78, was diagnosed with the disease during a regular check-up earlier this year. He started radiotherapy treatment at the beginning of July. He has now completed hospital sessions and is expected to make a full recovery.
Daily Mail

Leeds grandfather’s trailblazing cancer treatment is UK first
Cancer patients in Yorkshire are benefiting from world-leading treatment at a Leeds hospital. Two state-of-the-art radiotherapy machines – the first of their kind in the UK and only the second in the world – are now in operation at St James’s Hospital.
Yorkshire Evening Post

Chemotherapy before radiotherapy for testicular cancer could reduce long-term side-effects
Giving men with testicular cancer a single dose of chemotherapy alongside radiotherapy could improve the effectiveness of treatment and reduce the risk of long-term side-effects, a new study reports.
Science Daily

Stealth nanoparticles boost radiotherapy
Imagine a microscopic bomb precisely positioned inside a cancer tumour cell that explodes when ignited by a dose of precision-targeted radiotherapy. This scenario may become reality within a decade if research by Massachusetts scientists on using nanoparticles to deliver cancer-fighting drugs proceeds smoothly.

Depression up in post-radiation head and neck cancer survivors
For post-radiotherapy survivors of head and neck cancer, depression is fairly common, but treatment is underutilized, according to research published online Aug. 15 in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.
Medical Xpress

Family welcome plans to bring proton beam therapy to UK
The parents of a little girl fighting cancer have welcomed the plans to bring pioneering treatment to the UK. Five-year-old Katie Dodd travelled to the USA for proton beam therapy — the most advanced form of radiotherapy — in February to treat the tumour in her spine. The Christie NHS Foundation Trust in Manchester has now announced the treatment will be available for children and adults in 2018.
The Bolton News

Radiotherapy Innovation Fund
The MP for Torbay, Adrian Sanders, writes in the Herald Express: “I’m delighted at the news £432,108 from the Radiotherapy Innovation Fund is being used to improve radiotherapy in Torbay. Radiotherapy is cutting edge and cost effective, delivering 40 per cent of curative treatments for cancers. In our area the South Devon NHS Foundation Trust has overseen a rise to 15 per cent in amount of intensive modulated radiotherapy delivered to patients.
This is South Devon

15 August

Proton therapy offers new, precise cancer treatment for children with high-risk neuroblastoma
Proton therapy, using high-energy subatomic particles, may offer a precise, organ-sparing treatment option for children with high-risk forms of neuroblastoma. For patients in a new study of advanced radiation treatment, proton therapy spared the liver and kidneys from unwanted radiation, while zeroing in on its target.
Medical Xpress

Rising from ground, our new unit for cancer care
It may still look like a building site but the view at Worcestershire Royal Hospital is set to be transformed as this long-awaited radiotherapy unit takes shape over the next few months. Work on the £22.5 million state-of-the-art cancer treatment unit remains on schedule for the first patients to step through its doors before the end of 2014.
Hereford Times


13 August

MR methods assess tumour response
Researchers at the Functional Imaging Group of the University of Michigan’s Department of Radiation Therapy have developed new imaging tools from multimodality imaging to assess the response of brain metastases to radiotherapy.

Study of coping strategies in men receiving radiotherapy for prostate cancer
This paper reports a study on how men cope with the side-effects of radiotherapy and neo-adjuvant androgen deprivation for prostate cancer up to 1 year after treatment.

Postoperative radiotherapy for completely resected Masaoka stage III thymoma
This study, published in Radiation Oncology, concluded that Adjuvant 3D-CRT/IMRT showed potential advantages in improving survival and reducing relapse in patients with stage III thymoma after complete resection, whereas adjuvant RT did not significantly improve survival or reduce recurrence for the cohort as a whole.
7th Space

Supermarket helps Karen’s Cause
A supermarket has backed a local mum in her campaign to bring one of the latest cancer treatments to Wales. Sainsbury’s Local in Barry has kicked off its support for Karen Holroyd by making Karen’s Cause its charity of the year and donating an initial £500 through its community grant scheme. The donation supports Karen, fellow trustee Natalie Sluman, and supporters, in their efforts to fund a cyberknife radiotherapy machine.
Barry & District News


12 August

Neon Roberts, whose mother tried to prevent radiotherapy for brain tumour, ‘recovering well’
An eight-year-old boy whose mother failed in a legal bid to stop him having radiotherapy for a brain tumour has spoken for the first time of how doctors discovered his cancer. In a Channel 4 documentary to be broadcast on Tuesday, Neon explained how doctors found his cancer in October last year. His father, Ben Roberts, 35, said: “Neon is recovering well. He is much steadier on his feet these days. Both his physical strength and inner confidence are growing on a daily basis”.
Huffington Post, Daily Mail, Daily Mirror

Carbon ion radiotherapy controls cancer growth, prolong survival in patients with spinal tumors
A new analysis has found that a type of radiation therapy called carbon ion radiotherapy can control cancer growth and prolong survival in patients with spinal tumors. Published early online in Cancer, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the study indicates that the treatment is a promising alternative for patients whose spinal tumors cannot be surgically removed.
News Medical

MRI-Guided cryoablation viable for recurrent prostate cancer
In men with recurrent prostate cancer following radiation therapy, magnetic resonance imaging-guided focal cryoablation is feasible and seems safe, according to a study published in the August issue of Radiology (2013;268:451-460).
Doctors Lounge

Feasibility study: High-dose 3D conformal radiotherapy with concurrent vinorelbine and carboplatin chemotherapy in locally advanced non-small-cell lung cancer
Increasing the radiotherapy dose can result in improved local control for non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and can thereby improve survival. Accelerated hypofractionated radiotherapy can expose tumors to a high dose of radiation in a short period of time, but the optimal treatment regimen remains unclear.
7th Space


8 August

Skin measurements improve motion tracking
Measurements of subcutaneous tissue thickness have the potential to improve the accuracy of real-time optical markerless tracking of patient motion during intracranial radiotherapy. In new work, researchers in Germany have provided proof of concept for a laser-based system, with simulated measurements of tissue thickness reaching accuracies of up to 18 µm.

Battling rare cancer with proton therapy
A family has been given fresh hope that their little boy’s cancer could be eradicated by pioneering treatment in America, with the NHS unable to treat his rare condition any further. The NHS offered to pay for the family to jet over to Jacksonville in Florida, where Tyler Martin will undergo nine weeks of revolutionary proton beam therapy, which is still being developed in the UK.


6 August

£330,000 Clatterbridge Cancer Centre revamp
A £330,000 revamp is to be carried out at a Wirral hospital that carries out a unique cancer treatment technique. Proton therapy treatment was pioneered at Clatterbridge Cancer Centre more than 20 years ago and the Wirral hospital is still the only NHS trust in the country to use the technology on patients. As part of the revamp trust executives have bought a Swiss-built proton therapy chair – one of only three in the world.
Wirral Globe

Appeal to improve cancer treatment at Norfolk hospital passes quarter-way mark
Hopes of turning a Norfolk hospital into a regional leader for cancer treatment have received a boost after passing the quarter-way mark in a fundraising appeal. Bosses at Norfolk’s biggest hospital hope to treat more cancer patients a year as part of its Targeted Radiotherapy Appeal by upgrading the Colney Centre to offer more brachytherapy treatments.

Doctors amputate girl’s arm to treat it for bone cancer – then successfully reattach it
A six-year-old girl has made a remarkable recovery after surgeons cut off her arm to remove a cancerous tumour – before successfully sewing it back on. After Bethan Evans’ left arm was ‘temporarily’ amputated it was driven three miles to another hospital where specialists treated the golf ball-sized tumour with high-doses of radiation. A team of 10 medics then sewed her arm – which had been cut off at the shoulder – back on again at the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Birmingham.
Daily Mail


5 August

International meeting to focus on carbon ion radiotherapy for cancer patients
Cancer experts from around the world are converging in Denver on Thursday and Friday to analyze the success of cutting-edge radiation therapies, and to determine how one promising treatment option could be delivered for the first time to cancer patients in the United States. The symposium, “Advanced Radiation Oncology Treatment Strategies with Photon, Proton and Carbon Ion Radiation,” will be at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and will highlight discoveries from research teams in the United States, Germany and Japan.
News Medical

Work may cause delays
Visitors to Worcestershire Royal Hospital are being warned of potential disruption this week as work to build the new radiotherapy centre gets into full swing. The new centre, set for completion in September 2014, will provide radiotherapy treatment for the county’s cancer patients and means they will no longer face long journeys out of the county for their care. It is estimated it will save patients around one million miles of travel every year.
Worcester Standard


2 August

Chemoradiation therapy for the treatment of bone metastases
The combination of the chemotherapy capecitabine with external beam radiation was found to be both safe and effective in treating pain from bone metastases in patients with advanced breast cancer. The results from the small 29-patient phase II study are published in PLOS ONE.
Cancer Network

Acromegaly outcomes excellent with radiotherapy
Patients with acromegaly have excellent outcomes from radiotherapy, with many showing improvements in GH levels as well as tumour volume control, experience from an Australian centre shows. A review of 121 patients with acromegaly who received radiotherapy at the Prince of  Wales Hospital in Sydney showed that the newer techniques of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) and fractionated stereotactic radiotherapy (FSRT) produced “excellent” tumour volume control.
Endocrinology update

Electrons for intraoperative radiotherapy in selected breast-cancer patients
The Montpellier cancer institute phase II trial started in 2004 and evaluated the feasibility of intraoperative radiotherapy (IORT) technique given as a sole radiation treatment for patients with an excellent prognostic and very low recurrence risk. Researchers say the results confirm with a long-term follow-up that exclusive partial breast IORT is feasible for early-breast cancer in selected patients.
7th Space


1 August

Proton cancer therapy coming to UK
Cancer patients who currently travel abroad for a special type of radiotherapy will be able to get it in the UK from 2018. Public health minister Anna Soubry said £250 million of Government funding is being committed to hospitals in Manchester and London to deliver proton beam therapy.

Scientists reveal hope for protecting patients from radiotherapy and chemotherapy
Scientists may have found a way of protecting cancer patients from the effects of radiotherapy and chemotherapy using drugs that shield the sensitive gastrointestinal tract from the toxic effects of the treatment.
The Independent

NHS U-turn on funding for Dorset woman’s cancer treatment
A cancer patient who raised £30,000 for treatment after being refused NHS funding can now have the therapy following a U-turn by health officials. Kathy Craven, from Wimborne, has breast cancer which has spread to her liver. Family and friends raised the money for her to undergo Selective Internal Radiotherapy Treatment (SIRT) in just one week after the NHS refused funding.

Radiotherapy services for Kendal’s Westmorland General Hospital are ‘a step closer’
Westmorland General Hospital is ‘a step closer’ to getting its radiotherapy services back, according to a local MP. Tim Farron said that the barrier to bringing radiotherapy to the South Lakes was inflexibility over the funding formula, with the ‘national standard tariff’ currently too low to cover the costs at smaller units. But after posing a question in Parliament to health minister Dr Dan Poulter, it was admitted that ‘local variation is permitted’.
Westmorland Gazette