Lung cancer patient receives first MR-linac treatment at The Christie

A grandfather of three has become the UK’s first lung cancer patient to benefit from Elekta MR-linac radiotherapy treatment at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust.

Barry Staniforth was treated using the equipment that performs real-time MR scans while x-ray beams target the tumour, making it more accurate and reducing side effects.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic Staniforth was quickly referred to The Christie in Manchester for treatment. He then received four weeks of radiotherapy to treat his lung cancer using the pioneering MR-linac system.

“It really lifts your spirits when you have such confidence in the people looking after you. And to be able to help science along the way is an even better feeling,” Staniforth commented.

“The pandemic has been really hard and the added burden of lung cancer obviously affects you but I have been so lucky to be able to have such an amazing medical team looking after me. The care I received has been marvelous. It seems daft, but I actually looked forward to going in for my treatment. The staff are like friends and I felt so reassured that they were treating me.”

Unity MR-linac
The Unity MR-linac at The Christie.

The treatment was delivered by the specialist lung oncology team headed up by Dr Ahmed Salem and Professor Corinne Faivre-Finn, with support from the MR-linac clinical lead Professor Ananya Choudhury, consultant research radiographer Dr Cynthia Eccles and physics lead Dr Rob Chuter. The research team are also based at The University of Manchester. It was part of the worldwide MOMENTUM trial that aims to target a wide range of cancers to find out which react best to the treatment before it is hopefully rolled out worldwide.

Dr Salem said: “The MR-linac’s unique ability to provide real-time scans of the tumour and healthy tissues while treatment is being delivered provides an opportunity to improve radiotherapy accuracy and reduce side effects in selected patients.

“We hope that Barry will be the first of many lung cancer patients to have treatment on this innovative machine. It is a privilege to be part of the team that made this possible.”

Picture: Barry Staniforth with The Christie lung oncology treatment team.

Published on page 4 of the October 2021 issue of RAD Magazine.

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