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Nineteen patients have received a full dose of radiotherapy in just a few minutes during their operations using a piece of equipment called Mobetron.
It forms part of patients’ treatment at University Hospital Southampton (UHS), which is the only centre in the country using the kit.
It has been described by experts as an “important step” in the battle against the aggressive form of cancer and part of a new “three-pronged assault” against the disease.
Pancreatic cancer is a particularly aggressive form of the disease which is normally diagnosed at a late stage.
It has the lowest survival rate of all common cancers, with five-year survival for patients in the UK at less than seven per cent and one per cent beyond 10 years.
Funded by PLANETS Cancer Charity, which fundraises for pancreatic, liver, abdominal and neuroendocrine tumour services, Mobetron is the first portable system in the world able to administer the treatment – known as intraoperative radiotherapy (IORT) – mid-surgery.
IORT is an intensive form of targeted radiation given at the time of surgery to treat a wide variety of advanced cancers that are otherwise difficult to remove and treat, such as during pancreatic head cancer surgery, a procedure known as pancreaticoduodenectomy or Whipple procedure.
Mobetron is a mini-version of a linear accelerator – a standard machine which delivers radiotherapy – and can send high energy focused electron beams precisely to areas inside the human body immediately after a cancer has been removed surgically.
IORT enables surgeons and oncologists to give doses of radiation to areas that are at a high risk of recurrence of disease without causing damage to surrounding healthy tissue and organs.
This effectively limits radiation doses to protect surrounding critical structures, potentially reducing late complications related to treatment.
Mobetron is used specifically for IORT and can be moved between operating theatres to treat patients with pancreatic, neuroendocrine, colorectal, bladder and head and neck cancers.
In a research letter published in the British Journal of Surgery, clinicians at UHS and PLANETS report the method is safe, with no deaths within 30 days of surgery – the traditional measure of surgical quality – and post-surgery complications in only six patients which were resolved.
Patient hospital stay was also the same as those who had pancreatic cancer surgery without IORT.
The publication marks the first reported series of pancreatic cancer patients to receive IORT delivered by Mobetron in the United Kingdom.
“We have shown that adoption of IORT using Mobetron is just as safe as standard pancreatic cancer surgery and this should be the impetus for others to adopt it,” said Arjun Takhar (pictured), a consultant hepatobiliary and pancreatic cancer surgeon at UHS and part of the PLANETS surgical team.
“Although it is currently too early for long-term outcomes, this is an important development for pancreatic cancer patients for whom survival rates are still poor as it demonstrates change is possible and is coming.
“Patients now have access to effective pre-operative chemotherapy which was not available previously and all patients in our study group apart from one received chemotherapy to shrink their tumour before surgery with IORT.
“This means they have benefitted from a three-pronged assault on their cancer which seemed far out of reach just a few years ago, so this is a positive step forward.”
He added: “IORT allows surgery and radiotherapy to be used at the same sitting and, more importantly, allows for precise delivery of radiotherapy to areas of concern without damaging the adjacent structures.”
PLANETS was co-founded in 2011 by surgeon Neil Pearce along with neuroendocrine cancer patient Layla Stephen and consultant radiologist Brian Stedman.
It has so far raised £1.3 million, with a large part of this sum being used to fund and maintain Mobetron.
“This sort of news and research is precisely the reason we all work so hard behind the scenes running PLANETS and fundraising tirelessly,” said Ms Stephen, who is the charity’s chief executive.
“Any progress for patients in areas of cancer care where outcomes still need to be much better is extremely welcome and we are delighted to see these findings.”
READ ABOUT HOW FUNDS ARE USED
PLANETS funds new wellbeing room for liver patients at University Hospital Southampton A new wellbeing room funded by PLANETS Cancer Charity has been opened for patients with liver diseases at University Hospital Southampton. The facility, located on the gastroenterology and hepatology ward, provides a quiet space for patients and a place for private conversations which […]
Surgeons in Southampton are the first in the UK to begin using 3D printed models of patients’ livers to help them perform a complex cancer operation. Converting the data available from CT and MRI scans of patients with hilar cholangiocarcinoma – a type of bile duct cancer – into 3D models will enable better planning […]
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PLANETS has thanked its supporters after completing a £1 million fundraising campaign and making the final payment for a pioneering radiotherapy machine. PLANETS Cancer Charity has been fundraising for the past six years to fully purchase Mobetron, a revolutionary mobile device which delivers radiotherapy during surgery – known as intraoperative radiotherapy (IORT). When the charity […]
Thank you to John Greenwood, Trustee of the The Hospital Saturday Fund, for visiting us on Monday and bringing this incredible grant of £10,000 to support our IORT (Intra Operative Radiotherapy) machine. This will enable us to continue delivering this lifesaving treatment at University Hospital Southampton – the only centre in the UK currently offering […]
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A dietitian funded by PLANETS Cancer Charity and the Robert White Trust Fund is due to start work to develop and provide a comprehensive dietetic service to patients diagnosed with Neuroendocrine Cancer (NETs). Ruth Lee will be based at the Dorset NET service, which is part of the Wessex European Neuroendocrine tumour society centre […]
PLANETS are excited to share the news that University Hospital Southampton have secured £200,000 funding from the Robert White Trust for a research project that aims to gain a better understanding of NET biology which may lead to a greater range of treatment options for patients with this rare disease. Robert White was a former […]
We are thrilled and proud to update our supporters that a Southampton bowel cancer patient has become the first in the UK to receive radiotherapy during surgery using the IORT machine that PLANETS has funded. he 58-year-old male, who completed a combination of conventional chemotherapy and radiotherapy in August, underwent major surgery at Southampton […]
SOUTHAMPTON CLINICIANS PIONEER USE OF REVOLUTIONARY CANCER DEVICE 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 […]
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You may have notice that Southampton was mentioned in recent media stories regarding The National Tumour Bank that is carrying out important pancreatic cancer research? Colin Johnson, Professor of Surgical Sciences at University of Southampton, has this to say about the project: ‘The National Tissue Bank is a major development in pancreatic cancer research. Several […]
A big thank you to Sainsbury’s Hedge End for donating two digital radios to PLANETS to be used in the lead lined Gamma Scanner Rooms at Southampton General. Pictured presenting the radios to staff in the scanner rooms are PLANETS Fund Manager, Layla Stephen, and Dr Brian Stedman.
PLANETS Charitable Fund are excited to have committed to provide a grant over a two year period for a pancreatic research project: ́The role of Eps8 in αvβ6-dependent functions in pancreatic cancer invasion’ to be undertaken by Dr Jo Tod. Pancreatic adenocarcinoma (PC) has one of the worst outcomes of any cancer; only 3.7% of patients […]
[social_button button=”facebook” flayout=”standard ” fwidth=”450″ faction=”like” fcolorsheme=”light”] UHS magazine Connect featured a fantastic article about NET patient Maureen McKenzie who, in July 2013, became the first Southampton patient to receive PRRT (peptide receptor radionuclide therapy). The equipment for this treatment was jointly funded by UHS and PLANETS showing just how important and valuable the […]
[social_button button=”facebook” flayout=”standard ” fwidth=”450″ faction=”like” fcolorsheme=”light”] Pancreatic cancer affects over 8000 patients each year in the uk and remains the fifth biggest cancer killer in the UK, despite this its has been underfunded for many years and currently receives just 1% of total cancer research funding in the UK. NETs are a rare form […]
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