Christie set to treat more patients with innovative radiotherapy

Press Release Posted 15 June 2015

The Christie is one of the first UK centres chosen by NHS England to treat patients with oligometastatic disease (cancer that has returned to another part of the body), with an innovative form of radiotherapy called Stereotactic Ablative Radiotherapy (SABR), as part of the Department of Health's latest national evaluation programme.

NHS England has invested £15m over three years to assess the use of SABR through its Commissioning through Evaluation initiative, which will allow up to 750 new patients a year to access the treatment at 17 centres across the country.

SABR is a modern, more precise way of delivering radiotherapy which enables higher doses of radiation to be used for treating the tumour, 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 and the NHS already funds this. However, there is less clinical evidence to show that SABR is effective for other cancers.

Dr Neil Bayman, Clinical Oncologist at The Christie, said: "This is a very exciting time for radiotherapy at The Christie. We have been successfully using SABR to treat early lung cancers for several years, but for the first time we will now be able to offer state of the art radiotherapy using SABR for some patients whose cancers have recurred."

To gather the evidence it needs, NHS England is working with the clinical and research community to fully assess the use of SABR to treat a range of cancer symptoms. This follows a campaign led by former England rugby captain Lawrence Dallaglio, which aims to make SABR more widely available to patients.

NHS England's Commissioning through Evaluation programme will increase the number of cancers being treated to include oligometastatic disease, primary liver tumours and the re-irradiation of cancers in the pelvis and spine. Its clinical panel is also considering including benign spinal tumours and renal conditions as part of the scheme in the future.

Lawrence Dallaglio said: "I am delighted to see that hundreds of new cancer patients will start their treatment with SABR in the coming months. Our task now is to ensure the success of this evaluation programme so that all those patients who should also be receiving this innovative radiotherapy are treated as soon as
possible."

A patient's clinician will identify whether they are a potential candidate for the programme and they will be referred on to a participating centre where appropriate.

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