Brain Cancer Patients at Charing Cross to Benefit from New Scanners

Fund-raising by Brain Tumour Research Campaign helps buy Sonowand equipment

Brain cancer patients at Charing Cross Hospital are set to benefit from a state-of-the-art scanner, which surgeons
say will improve survival rates.

The first of two new high-tech Sonowand ultrasound scanners, which enable more accurate brain surgery has been installed at the Fulham Palace Road hospital’s neurosurgery centre, marking a significant step forward for brain cancer treatment in London.

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs Charing Cross Hospital, says it was able to purchase the equipment, costing £250,000 each, thanks to a fundraising drive by the charity Brain Tumour Research Campaign (BTRC) spearheaded by the former mayor of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Cllr Christopher Buckmaster.

Charing Cross Hospital is the first centre in the UK to have the latest model of the ground-breaking SonoWand mobile imaging equipment and is one of only two centres in the country to have an older model since 2008. A second machine will be delivered to the hospital later this year.

The new equipment, called SonoWand Invite, helps surgeons operate more accurately, safely and quickly by converting pre-operative MRI scans into a virtual 3D reconstruction of the brain.

Surgeons are able to see rapidly updated images of the brain and brain movement (shift) in real time so that they can remove as much of a tumour as possible without damaging healthy tissue. This is done by utilising integrated finely tuned and calibrated ultrasound that creates 3D images of the brain and blood vessels with high resolution that can be merged with the MRI.

The hospital says this marks significant progress in the battle against brain cancer which causes more deaths in children and people under 40 every year than any other cancer. More than 800 Londoners are diagnosed with a brain, central nervous system or intracranial tumour every year while less than one per cent of cancer research funding goes to brain tumours.

Mr Kevin O’Neill, consultant neurosurgeon at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and co-founder of BTRC, says: " Accurately locating and safely removing a tumour without damage to normal brain tissue and blood vessels is a real challenge for surgeons.

" The SonoWand makes surgery safer, more accurate and more of the tumour is removed so that what’s left responds better to other treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

" The new model is a major advance from the prototype and provides a platform to combine robotics and other technologies being developed at Charing Cross Hospital and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.

"This great news for brain tumour patients in London and for our team here at Charing Cross Hospital. Early studies using this technology are showing that patient survival and outcomes are better. The new equipment could revolutionise brain surgery, translating into patients living longer and therefore having the opportunity to benefit from our further research."

The Trust purchased the new machines following the recent charity fund-raising campaign by the BTRC with the help of Chllr Buckmaster’s Magic Wand Appeal and private donors in partnership with the Trust.

BTRC co-founder Wendy Fulcher says " One of our main aims has been to establish Charing Cross Hospital as an international centre of excellence for neuro-oncology and the new equipment marks a major step towards achieving this aim."

Councillor Christopher Buckmaster, the former Mayor of Kensington and Chelsea, started his Magic Wand Appeal after a close friend was diagnosed with a brain tumour. He says: " This is marvellous news and a fitting end to the campaign which began to increase public awareness of the desperate need for more funding for brain cancer treatment and to raise funds for research at Charing Cross Hospital and the purchase of the new machines.

" I am so proud of everyone’s efforts."


November 15, 2013