Gamma Knife unit successfully upgraded at Queen Square

Amethyst Radiotherapy, a ‘leader in cutting-edge cancer treatment’, and specifically Stereotactic Radiosurgery, has announced the successful upgrade of its Gamma Knife machine at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery (NHNN), Queen Square, in central London.

Specialised cranage equipment was used, lifting over 15 tonnes of equipment between the two high-rise buildings. The source loader weighed approximately nine tonnes, with the radiation vault at roughly five tonnes, while a variety of other equipment also required specialist transportation.

The Gamma Knife source loader is a sophisticated device used to precisely position radioactive sources, specifically cobalt-60, within the Gamma Knife machine. This technology is critical for targeting and treating brain tumours with high doses of radiation, while minimising exposure to surrounding healthy tissues. The precision of the source loader is vital for the effectiveness and safety of Gamma Knife radiotherapy, offering non-invasive treatment options for patients with various neurological conditions and metastatic brain tumours.

Issues faced during the upgrade included an unrelated protest march which prevented access and delivery of equipment, and vehicles not following the temporary parking restrictions.  Amethyst Radiotherapy said: “The complicated installation process underscores the intricate logistics undertaken by the Amethyst team to ensure a safe and efficient installation, reducing disruption to the surrounding area, while continuing to strive to deliver world-class treatment.

Following the successful installation, the equipment will soon be resuming treatment of NHS and private patients.”

Daniel Lumley, director of Clinical Operations at Amethyst UK, said: “The logistical challenges of transporting and installing the source loader and radiation vault were formidable, particularly given the dense urban environment of central London. The use of a crane was essential for positioning these heavy and sensitive components with precision. Our team’s expertise in navigating these complexities was critical to the successful upgrade of our facilities. I’d like to thank all involved, both from within Amethyst, and the outside contractors, who contributed to the project’s success.”

Neil Kitchen, Consultant Neurosurgeon, and Medical director for the Queen Square Gamma Knife Unit, added: “The reloading of our state-of-the art Gamma Knife treatment platform with brand new cobalt radiation sources will halve treatment times for our patients, making their therapy less onerous, and allowing us to treat many more patients efficiently, thus reducing waiting times. As Clinical director, on behalf of the clinical team, I would like to thank Amethyst UK and UCLH for completing this complicated task.”



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