Cancer patients will now be able to benefit from the very latest in radiotherapy technology following the arrival of a state-of-the-art treatment at The Royal Marsden.

Funded by The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, the equipment can deliver larger doses of precisely targeted radiotherapy treatment in a small number of fractions.

The machine uses robotic technology to position the treatment head precisely and a real-time imaging system to track the position of the tumour.

This means that patients can be treated with pinpoint accuracy with less healthy tissue damaged during treatment and fewer treatment sessions being required.

Your Local Guardian:

Having the additional feature of a multileaf collimator (MLC) head means faster treatment delivery times and shorter treatment sessions lasting as little as 15 minutes.

Based in Sutton’s radiotherapy department, this is currently the only model of its kind in the UK.

The Royal Marsden were one of the first London NHS Trusts to install the CyberKnife in their Chelsea hospital in 2011 which has since treated nearly three thousand patients and been the focus of international research.

Davina Colton, 58, is one of the first patients to be treated with the new technology.

Your Local Guardian:

She said: “After seven years of being cancer free following my original diagnosis of ovarian cancer, I was told it had returned in my lymph nodes and that having radiotherapy on the CyberKnife would be the best way to target any remaining cancer cells that couldn’t be removed through surgery.

Knowing that my treatment sessions were only about 20 minutes long rather than an hour, and to be able to have such focused sessions over three days has made a huge difference."

Dr Nicholas van As, of The Royal Marsden, said: “The machine is ideal for treating hard-to-reach tumours, including brain, spinal, lung and neck.

"Research has shown encouraging results with prostate cancer patients being cured in as little as one or two weeks from this type of treatment, a significant reduction from the current standard of one to two months.

“Using this type of radiotherapy means that patients can be spared numerous visits to hospital, allowing them to get back to their lives sooner which is vital more so now than ever before.

"We’re incredibly grateful to supporters of The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity who have enabled us to fund this state-of-the-art machine, it’s already making a huge difference to the lives of cancer patients across the country.”