Nova Healthcare completes upgrade and Cobalt 60 source replacement to its pioneering Gamma Knife® Icon™ treatment unit

Nova Healthcare has upgraded its Gamma Knife® Icon™ planning software and undertaken a source replacement for its radiosurgery system to continue the high quality delivery of state-of-the art precision treatment to its patients.

Nova Healthcare, which is based within Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust in the Leeds Cancer Centre and part of the Aspen Healthcare group, is one of the few facilities in England offering this specialised, highly accurate latest generation of non-invasive treatment.

The Gamma Knife® Icon™ is a precise and sub millimetre accurate way to deliver radiation to even the most complex brain tumours or abnormalities within the brain. Despite its name, however, there is no knife involved. The precise delivery works by damaging the cells so they can no longer grow, whilst sparing surrounding tissue.

The advantages of this innovative technology are that patients can attend as a day case, avoiding general anaesthesia and postoperative care. In most cases the treatment is carried out in a single session, however, the treatment can be delivered in 3 – 5 fractions if required.

The source (Cobalt 60) is a sealed unit located in the treatment unit which decays over a period of time with a half- life of 5.3 years. The replacement of the sources decreases the patients’ treatment time.

Nova Healthcare is the only centre in the north of England commissioned to treat both NHS adult and paediatric patients.

For many patients, Gamma Knife is a transformational experience. Recent feedback on the treatment includes:

  • “Having undergone surgery for Meningioma twenty years ago – Gamma Knife was so much less intrusive!”
  • “The unknown is always daunting especially treatment to the head but I can honestly say that apart from a little discomfort when fitting and removing the frame, the procedure was not painful or frightening”

Nova upgraded from a Gamma Knife® Perfexion™ to a Gamma Knife Icon™ in 2015. The recent source reload took place over 2.5 weeks with the minimum of disruption to the service, with no compromise to patient care.

Kate Casey, Gamma Knife Manager at Nova Healthcare, said: “Gamma Knife® Icon™ is an unbeaten precision, accurate and effective treatment method used to treat brain tumours or abnormalities within the brain. By replacing the cobalt sources it has reduced our patient treatment times by half ultimately improving patient experience.”

Date: 08/07/2021