Gamma Knife Centre officially opens 

25/04/2013 00:00 

A new centre which will advance the research and treatment of brain cancer has been officially opened at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, part of UCLH.

John Bercow offically opening the Gamma Knife Centre

John Bercow offically opening the Gamma Knife Centre (Images courtesy of UCL ION/UCLH Medical Illustration 2013)

Sir Robert Naylor, chief executive, said: "UCLH is at the forefront of leading edge technology and this latest equipment demonstrates that we intend to stay there… it is a good example of public and private sector organisations working together in harmony for the benefit of patients."

He added the Gamma Knife Centre at Queen Square Radiosurgery Centre (QSRC) was a "great tribute" to everyone involved.

At a special event to mark the official opening, MP John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons was invited to unveil a plaque.

 Mr Bercow is patron of Brain Tumour Research and in 2005 he established the All Party Group on Brain Tumours to raise awareness of issues surrounding the disease.

He said: "I am thrilled to be here amongst people who demonstrate such distinction and passion in this field."

The Gamma Knife will focus primarily on research and treatment for patients with brain metastases – tumours that develop in the brain from cancers elsewhere in the body. It will also be invaluable for treating non-cancerous growths near blood vessels and glands and other neurological conditions such as trigeminal neuralgia (facial pain)

John Bercow chats to staff from Queen Square (Images courtesy of UCL ION/UCLH Medical Illustration 2013)

John Bercow chats to staff from Queen Square (Images courtesy of UCL ION/UCLH Medical Illustration 2013)

Neil Kitchen, a consultant neurosurgeon at the NHNN, said: “In terms of research, the addition of Gamma Knife will enable assessment and evaluation of a range of treatment modalities for brain disorders, particularly for brain metastases.

“Clinically, Gamma Knife is a well accepted and proven technology that is a gentle and effective option to standard treatments for brain metastases and other brain disorders that can prolong and improve patients’ quality of life.”

Unlike traditional surgery, Gamma Knife procedures do not actually involve the use of a ‘knife’ or scalpel and the skull never has to be opened up. It works by delivering precisely targeted radiation at much higher dose and minimises damage to surrounding healthy tissue. As well as being non-invasive, it is routinely undertaken as an outpatient procedure.

Although the technology cannot cure cancerous tumours in the brain, it can often prolong life and improve the quality of life for patients.

The new centre hosts the UK’s sixth Gamma Knife which is manufactured by Elekta. It provides a high quality radiosurgical service for NHS and private patients, and is a partnership between the NHNN, and Medical Equipment Solutions Limited.

During the launch on April 23, some of the world’s most eminent Gamma Knife practitioners presented lectures about the possibilities.

Medical Equipment Solutions Limited is responsible for the capital cost and day to day operation of the centre, in partnership with the NHNN consultant team.


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