Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust has upgraded one of its Varian radiotherapy machines, which it says makes it the first in the country to offer Ethos therapy that uses AI to tailor treatment to the daily needs of patients. The upgrade went live in August, treating three prostate cancer patients on its first day. Ethos will enable the trust to personalise radiation treatments more precisely, targeting the tumour’s shape and position on a daily basis.
Head of radiotherapy Siobhan Graham said: “Cancer patients receiving radiotherapy will have a course of treatments and on different days their internal anatomy will not be exactly the same – bladder size for example can change depending on how full it is.
“What this upgrade has allowed us to do is use AI to adapt to our patients, instead of asking our patients to adapt to our treatments. It also aims to reduce side effects even further than our normal treatments already do. This will make a huge improvement to our patients’ experience and their overall health outcomes and builds on our mission to provide great care to every patient, every day.”
Stephen McTaggart from Upminster was the first patient to receive the treatment. He said: “They called me in advance to tell me about it, but it didn’t really register what it was. I feel quite lucky being the first, especially as I should have had my radiotherapy in February but due to COVID-19 it had to be put back. I wouldn’t have been the first to get a new treatment if I’d had it then.”
The implementation of Ethos means that radiotherapy patients will no longer have to undergo certain procedures to prepare for treatment, including more invasive ones such as gold seed markers for prostate cancer.
The upgrade was implemented as part of the trust’s partnership with Varian; it says it was the first in the UK to have a Halcyon treatment machine and implemented imaging on the system in 2018.
Picture: With patient Stephen McTaggart (seated on the scanner bed) are, standing, senior therapy radiographer Bisola Salami, consultant clinical oncologist Professor Saad Tahir, team leader therapy radiographer Kirsty-Anne Daly, consultant clinical oncologist Dr Amy Ward and treatment superintendent radiographer Perveen Thapar-Francis. In front are head of radiotherapy Siobhan Graham and head of radiotherapy physics Liz Crees.
Published on page 9 of the September 2020 issue of RAD Magazine.