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Eccleshill man is first in world to try new cancer treatment
A lung cancer patient from Bradford has become the first internationally to undergo a new targeted radiotherapy treatment.
Richard Berry, of Eccleshill, is the first patient to have stereotactic radiotherapy for lung cancer using a new device called the Agility head at St James’s University Hospital in Leeds.
The 72-year-old retired joiner and shopfitter only discovered he had cancer a month ago after collapsing suddenly at home. He was delighted to be offered the treatment which is being used to help patients with cancers which are difficult or impossible to treat using conventional surgery.
“I was very surprised to hear I was the first patient to undergo this process,” he said. “I didn’t relish the prospect of surgery and this treatment has allowed me to carry on with life much as normal, and I have felt fine throughout the process.”
The treatment uses a beam-shaping device to target lung cancer, in conjunction with a technique called Stereotactic Ablative Radiotherapy (SABR).
The hospital worked with global medical device manufacturer Elekta on the development of the Agility head, which is fitted to one of the high-tech linear accelerators in the St James’s Institute of Oncology, and provides more precise radiotherapy treatment in larger does over a shorter period of time.
Alan Needham, lead radiotherapy radiographer for research and development at St James’s, said: “The Agility device enhances the way we can target radiotherapy treatment beams to match the precise shape of a cancer.
“Combined with the latest therapy technique, VMAT (Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy), where a therapy beam is continuously reshaped as it rotates about the patient, we can significantly raise the standard and quality of radiotherapy delivery.
“We are delighted to have been able to undertake the first treatment using the device to target early stage lung cancer and are continuing to develop its potential and expect to expand its use to include other cancers over the next year.”
The centre in Leeds is fortunate to have the equipment to carry out this leading-edge treatment, thanks to the Yorkshire Cancer Centre Appeal, which has funded two research linear accelerators to develop improved treatments for patients from across the region.
St James’s is already at the national forefront in the provision of stereotactic radiotherapy for lung cancer and has treated 360 patients so far, of whom Mr Berry is the first to have the added advantage of the Agility device to target the treatment more precisely.