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Revolutionary cancer 'buster' machine to test in UK

By John von Radowitz

Published 29/07/2015

A revolutionary machine that scans and kills cancer at the same time is to be tested on patients in the UK.

Experts say the MR-Linac machine to be installed at two centres in Surrey and Manchester could open up a new era in highly-personalised radiotherapy.

The machine combines magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanning and tumour-busting radiation treatment in one hi-tech package.

Two of only seven of the machines in the world are being delivered to the UK, initially for use in clinical trials.

Each device is understood to cost more than a £3m CyberKnife - a cutting-edge form of radiotherapy that hits hard-to-reach tumours with high-dose targeted beams.

One of them will be commissioned at the Royal Marsden Hospital's site in Sutton, Surrey, early next year.

Professor Uwe Oelfke, from the Institute of Cancer Research and the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, said a major problem for radiotherapy was that patients' internal anatomy changed "from day to day or even from second to second".

"With MRI you can constantly monitor the patient and adapt the dose precisely to the individual patient. This will allow a truly new practice of personalised radiation therapy," said Professor Oelfke.

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