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IORT Launch Team Photo



PLANETS founders Neil Pearce and Brian Stedman, together with fund manager Layla Stephen successfully launched our long awaited IORT machine last night.

The Mobetron is the first portable system able to administer the treatment in this way – known as intraoperative radiotherapy (IORT) – and will be used in operating theatres at Southampton General Hospital from June.

IORT is an intensive form of targeted radiation given at the time of surgery to treat a wide variety of advanced cancers that are difficult to remove and treat.

Using Mobetron technology, the radiation is given by high-energy electron beams, delivered with precision to a very specific location inside the body immediately after a cancer has been removed. This enables surgeons and cancer specialists to deliver much higher doses of this anticancer treatment to areas at a high risk of recurrence, but without causing damage to surrounding healthy tissue and organs, which would take, place with conventional radiotherapy methods.

With conventional external beam radiotherapy, doctors have to limit doses to protect surrounding structures.

Mobetron, which weighs two ton and is one-eighth the size of a standard external beam machine, is used specifically for IORT and can be wheeled between theatres with the potential to be used to treat several patients in different theatres every day.

The system, tested by experts at the National Physical Laboratory in London before being transported to Southampton, will be used initially to treat patients with pancreatic, neuroendocrine, colorectal and bladder tumours.

It is currently only available in 50 cancer centres based in Europe, North and South America and Asia and its arrival at Southampton has been made possible by PLANETS.  Co-founded in 2010 by surgeon Neil Pearce alongside some of his former patients and colleagues, PLANETS has so far raised £350,000 of the £500,000 required to fund the Mobetron system for the next three years.

Mr Pearce, now associate medical director for patient safety at UHS, said: “This is a landmark moment for the treatment of advanced cancer in Southampton and across the UK.

“IORT using the Mobetron is a safe and effective standard of care in the treatment of complex cancers in a large number of internationally-renowned cancer centres and Southampton can now count itself among that group.”

Layla Stephen, co-founder and charity fund manager for PLANETS, added: “This machine will make a difference to so many patients and we are extremely proud of the achievement.

“We really could not have done it without such fantastic support from everyone, so thank you to each and every one of our supporters for their tremendous efforts.”

Pictured above are Neil Pearce, Brian Stedman with some of their volunteer team – Layla Stephen, Jo Green, Tori Caine and Ronny Allan.

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