A new generation of stereotactic treatment began following a major upgrade over the summer and the first patients have been treated using the new Gamma Knife ICON at Queen Square Radiosurgery Centre. The new machine expands and improves the range of treatments on offer, allowing more patients with malignant and benign brain conditions to be treated with highly-precise radiotherapy.

The ICON gives the option of treating in a thermoplastic masks rather than a metal frame, if clinically appropriate. This allows treatment to be split over three to five sessions and means some patients with large tumours who were previously denied treatment are now eligible. It also allows real-time monitoring of patient movement using infrared cameras during mask-based treatment with an integrated “cone beam” CT scanner,  which allows us to verify patients position before treatment. These changes also combine to allow us to change our workflow so we can plan some treatments before the patient arrives in the department for treatment.

The first patient to be treated on the new Gamma Knife ICON

Mr Neil Kitchen, Consultant Neurosurgeon and Clinical Director of the Queen Square Gamma Knife Centre, said: “The ICON system expands our options to meet patient-specific needs. It provides the unrivalled precision and accuracy for which Gamma Knife has long been known and gives us the flexibility to deliver treatment in single or multiple sessions. This expands the range of indications that we can treat to include larger tumours and offers frameless treatment for some patients.As a national centre of excellence it is important that we continue to have the latest technology available to us.”

Queen Square Radiosurgery Centre works in partnership with University College London Hopsitals NHS Foundation Trust to run NHS England’s Stereotactic Radiosurgery Supra Centre for the South of England.

Kevin Sullivan, Divisional Manager, Cancer Services at UCLH, said: “We are pleased to work in partnership and welcome their investment in upgrading to a Gamma Knife Icon which adds to the armamentarium available to our clinicians and offers opportunities for considerable benefits for patients. UCLH has a comprehensive suite of the latest innovative technologies to treat patients with cranial tumours and other indications that the health service will be able to rely on in the years to come.”