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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 Bristol."

"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 side effects.

"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."