Life-saving cancer treatment funded by Emsworth charity Planets could become nationally available

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A cancer charity has funded a pioneering cancer treatment which could soon be nationally available on the NHS.

Planets Cancer Charity, based in Emsworth, backed University Hospital Southampton’s acquisition of a Mobetron, a ‘revolutionary’ device capable of delivering intraoperative electron beam radiotherapy.

IORT is ‘an intensive form of targeted radiation’ currently exclusively used at the hospital and has been used to treat patients with pancreatic, neuroendocrine and colorectal and bladder tumours. The treatment is used widely in other parts of the world but a public consulation could lead to a UK rollout.

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The MobetronThe Mobetron
The Mobetron

Planets clinical team member and oncological surgeon Professor Alex Mirnezami said: ‘Its really remarkable that a charity, and a small charity at that has been so influential in bringing together all of this and making this happen for NHS patients across the south coast and sometimes farther afield. Its a real privilege to be part of that.

‘It is a valuable treatment option for the most complex of cancers but, despite being the standard of care and recommended in North American and European guidelines, it is still only available within the NHS at University Hospital Southampton and that is thanks to Planets.

‘Consequently, we are in danger of some extremely young patients with awful cancers missing out on this treatment option despite the results so far being exceptionally good.’

Surgical oncologist Proffessor Alex MirnezamiSurgical oncologist Proffessor Alex Mirnezami
Surgical oncologist Proffessor Alex Mirnezami

Planets, which is in Havant Road, Emsworth, offers extra care which the NHS sometimes cannot provide like ‘invaluable’ patient support groups and fundraises through events such as cake bakes, an annual ball and a variety of sports challenges. Some £1.9m has been raised since 2011.

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The device is one eighth the size of a standard external beam machine and can deliver radiation to highly specific points inside the body following the removal of a tumour, aiding ‘margin control’ which involves ensuring no cancer cells remain.

Two-hundred people with colorectal cancer (of the colon or rectum) have received the ground-breaking treatment in Southampton with ‘impressive’ results.

Professor Mirnezami added: ‘This treatment allows us to deliver high dose radiotherapy at the very time that we’re operating on the most complicated of tumours. Without it, there’s a greater chance of the cancer coming back.’

You can take part in the consultation by visiting:

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