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News & Media

Media Release

Date: 15 June 2015

Vital new scanner to be up and running by April 2016

A brand new state-of-the-art scanner used for the detection and diagnosis of cancer is due to be up and running at Bath's Royal United Hospital (RUH) by April 2016.

PET-CT scanners work by combining two scanning techniques – Positron Emission Tomography and Computerised Tomography – to provide strikingly detailed and precise images of cancer cells in the body. It gives clinicians a much clearer picture of the spread of a cancer, how it is responding to treatment, and whether any cancerous cells remain following a course of treatment.

The RUH was identified as one of six new sites for PET-CT scanning earlier this year as part of a commitment by NHS England to increase patient access to the vital service.

With the combined expertise of consultant radiologists, radiographers, medical physicists and oncology clinicians, the RUH is the perfect choice of location for PET-CT scanning services.

Provision of the scanner has been made possible due to the fundraising efforts of the Bath Cancer Unit Support Group (BCUSG). The charity has so far raised in excess of £1.1m of the £1.2m required to purchase this vital and life-saving piece of advanced diagnostic equipment. The RUH will invest a further £1.4m to cover the costs of installation.

The RUH's Clinical Lead for Haematology and Oncology, Dr Emma De Winton said: 'The PET-CT scanner will have a huge impact for many of our cancer patients who will no longer have to travel to Cheltenham for this scan. PET-CT is essential for accurately assessing the extent of many types of cancer so that the best treatment can be offered to each individual patient. It also has an expanding role in planning and assessing a patient's response to radiotherapy treatment.'

The benefits of the PET-CT scanner will extend beyond the diagnosis of cancer – the equipment will also be used extensively in cancer drug trials and in other clinical settings. PET-CT is increasingly being used in the diagnosis of dementias and in research to better understand this group of diseases, especially Alzheimer's disease. Having a PET-CT scanner on site will give the RUH greater opportunity for working collaboratively with colleagues from the Research Institute for the Care of Older People (RICE) in both their clinical work and the essential research they conduct into dementia-related conditions.

Provision of the new scanner is part of the Trust's wider strategy for transforming Cancer Care. Plans are already underway for a new cancer centre at the RUH. The £23.5m Centre for Cancer Care will be built using a similar approach to that employed in the creation of the hospital's award-winning Dyson Centre for Neonatal Care – offering cancer patients a truly holistic approach to the treatment of their condition in a beautifully designed, sympathetic environment.

Notes to the Editor:

The collaborative network led by Alliance Medical has been awarded the national contract to provide the PET-CT services, following a competitive tender process. The Molecular Imaging Collaborative Network (which consists of leading NHS Trusts, charitable providers, vertical integrated isotope supply chain and a number of leading academic institutions) will be working collaboratively with the RUH to deliver scanning services at the hospital including providing access to wider range of isotopes and national multi-centred trials.

Alliance Medical
Alliance Medical is Europe's leading independent provider of medical imaging services, operating across the continent – in the UK, Germany, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands and Spain. In the UK, Alliance Medical has 25 years' experience of delivering a range of diagnostic imaging services for patients. The company operates a network of imaging centres which offer predominantly MRI and PET-CT scanning, but some sites also offer a range of other diagnostic modalities including CT, PET/CT, DEXA, X-ray and Ultrasound. Alliance Medical currently provides in over 120 locations medical imaging services in partnership with the NHS and the independent sector.

Bath Cancer Unit Support Group:
The Bath Cancer Unit Support Group is a local charity whose objective is to relieve sickness by supporting the work of the Oncology and Radiotherapy Unit at the Bath Royal United Hospital and other units providing the same or similar or related services for patients. The charity, which is entirely volunteer-run, works tirelessly to raise money to purchase equipment and provide facilities and services not provided by the health authority.

Research Institute for the Care of Older People (RICE):
RICE is an independent research charity, based on site at the RUH. The research carried out at RICE is intended to advance the knowledge and treatment of the more serious conditions affecting older people, in particular Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia, and to improve their quality of life.

PET-CT Scanning:
The process:

  • Patients are injected with radioactive glucose
  • In general, cancer cells take up more glucose than normal cells
  • The glucose gives out its radioactivity by positron emission
  • The PET scanner detects where the radioactivity is coming from
  • A CT scan is then performed to enable accurate localisation within the body

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