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New radiotherapy unit aims to improve brain tumour treatment

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A new radiotherapy unit which offers targeted treatment to patients with brain tumours has been opened at a St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London.

St Bartholomew’s Hospital, in the City of London, has also become the first NHS hospital in the capital to offer Gamma Knife radio surgery.

Before now, NHS patients in London were required to go to private hospital to receive the targeted treatment. While being treated, the patient is fitted with a head frame to keep them still and medics map where the tumour is so radiation can be aimed precisely at the growth. As the surgery is non-invasive, the patient could potentially go to work the next day.

‘The Gamma Knife is highly effective with a success rate of up to 95% for certain benign tumours. It also has a better success rate than surgery for secondary tumours in the brain,’ said consultant neurosurgeon Ian Sabin.

The £3m unit, which is a join venture between Barts and The London NHS Trust and HCA private hospital group, was opened by Spandau Ballet star Martin Kemp. He was diagnosed with two growths on his brain in 1995, the second of which was treated with an early form of radiotherapy at Barts.

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