Press Releases

The Latest in Advanced Radiotherapy Technology Serving HK Soon

17 January 2012


(Hong Kong, 17 January 2012) The Li Ka Shing Foundation (LKSF) and the Faculty of Medicine of The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) are excited to announce that a HK$40 million state-of-the-art TrueBeam system, which advances treatment possibilities in cancer cases in the brain, lungs, liver, pancreas and spine with its power, accuracy and speed, will soon be serving Hong Kong from the Prince of Wales Hospital (PWH) in Shatin. This is made possible through a HK$40 million gift from LKSF.

The very first public hospital to offer TrueBeam, PWH expects to complete installation and commence services within 12 months.

This “Smart” TrueBeam system redefines radiotherapy and is a technological leap forward. Through this “machine of the future” and its numerous features, like a High-Intensity Mode, multiple energy levels, high-definition beam shaping and very sophisticated imaging and motion management systems; and with the game-changing tools to design optimal treatments for their patients, the Faculty of Medicine of CUHK expects they could serve cancer patients better as they benefit from improved radiotherapy services.

The faculty also aims to leverage on TrueBeam to enhance medical research and teaching.

Incessant support

Professor Fok Tai-fai, Dean of CUHK’s Faculty of Medicine, said the faculty is very grateful for LKSF’s incessant support over the years.

“This new system is gaining popularity among physicians and clinicians across the United States, Europe and Australasia to target tumors of the lung, liver, pancreas, head and neck, brain, and spine. Treatment using TrueBeam for challenging cancer like brain tumors has already started, with thousands of cancer patients having been treated,” said Professor Fok.

“Patients receiving TrueBeam treatment were satisfied with the treatment. Some liver and prostate cancer patients attested that the radiotherapy treatment had worked well for them, faster and safer and no obvious side effects except that they experienced a little tiredness after each treatment.”

TrueBeam will enhance the capacity and capability in image guidance, stereotactic radiotherapy, as well as RapidArc service, which is conducive to the advancement of clinical research of CUHK’s Faculty of Medicine. Its introduction will facilitate a number of ongoing cancer research projects, namely, Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy in medically inoperable early lung cancer, vertebral metastasis and liver cancer, as well as Image-guided Radiation Therapy in prostate cancer using fiducial markers.

The Hospital Authority Chairman, Mr Anthony Wu, expressed heartfelt gratitude to Mr Li for the generous donation to enable the installation of the first TrueBeam system in public hospitals. Mr Wu believed the new medical facility will enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of cancer treatment for the people of Hong Kong.

Treatment with accuracy, precision and speed

TrueBeam is designed to deliver faster and higher-precision radiotherapy to battle cancer, according to manufacturer Varian. Clinically speaking, TrueBeam offers a much shorter treatment time, thus minimising patients’ discomfort. The system is also more precise, and is best for treating moving targets that are close to any critical normal organs, such as lungs, liver, pancreas and breasts. It allows a true integration of image-guidance radiotherapy and intensity modulation, which is an area of rigorous research in the field of oncology.

TrueBeam also improves targeting accuracy through its new X-ray tube design that gives better cone-beam computer tomography (CT) images for better target visualisation and adjustment before actual radiotherapy treatment takes place. This new X-ray tube also allows fast 3D image acquisition with less unnecessary X-ray exposure to patients. [For detailed explanation of TrueBeam’s advantages please refer to the attached Appendix]

It takes about a year for the new TrueBeam to arrive and to be installed in PWH. The new TrueBeam system offers new dimensions in cancer radiotherapy, enabling our patients with features such as electron energies, RapidArc intensity modulation, faster image guidance, and allows stereotactic radiosurgery.

Extending caring to the local community

The donation of TrueBeam is the latest programme of LKSF’s HK$300 million “Love HK Your Way!” –– a public philanthropic campaign initiated by LKSF to encourage Hong Kong citizens to participate in community care with creativity and innovation.

Eager to see more cancer patients in Hong Kong benefit from medical advances, LKSF’s Chairman Mr Li Ka-shing accepted CUHK’s Faculty of Medicine’s proposal to acquiring a TrueBeam system almost instantaneously.

Mr Li said, “New technology offers new hope and quality of care in fighting cancer. I am very happy to support CUHK and PWH with a new tool to treat patients more rapidly, effectively, and more safely than ever before.”

Under the “Love HK Your Way!” initiative, “Love Ideas, Love HK” entered into its second round since first launched in 2010; also launched was an expansion of the “Heart of Gold” Hong Kong Hospice Service Programme and service website “Hospice Home”, which aims to enhance and expand holistic palliative care to serve advanced cancer patients in public hospitals managed by the Hospital Authority; and “Love More”, a series of 12 short films, reminding Hong Kong of loving one another more through the lens of 12 young and promising film directors.

Besides PWH, the School of Medicine of Stanford University and Shantou University Medical College’s Affiliated-Cancer Hospital have also received support from LKSF to acquire a TrueBeam system, in 2010 and June 2011 respectively.

The machine started to offer service in Shantou since 12 October 2011, and has served 54 patients for 742 treatments as of the end of last year. The treatment per day also increased from four to five times to 45 times since it started operation. The Affiliated-Cancer Hospital’s clinicians operating the machine have been trained at Stanford University for six months and they are now very proficient in manoeuvering the operation and are very confident in enhancing treatment service to cancer patients.

Appendix – Features of TrueBeam system

Faster Treatments

TrueBeam is designed to treat tumors with speed and accuracy, including tumors that move during treatment as the patient breathes in and out. The system features a multitude of technical innovations that dynamically synchronises imaging, patient positioning, motion management and treatment delivery during sophisticated treatments for cancer.

With its high intensity mode, TrueBeam can deliver high doses quickly and accurately, more than twice as fast as earlier generations of technology. This makes it possible to significantly shorten treatments, potentially enabling clinics to treat more patients each day and to improve precision by leaving less time for tumor motion during dose delivery.

The “intelligent” automation of TrueBeam further speeds treatments with an up to five-fold reduction in the number of steps needed for image guidance and dose delivery. Simple treatments that once took 15 minutes or more can be completed in less than two minutes once the patient is in position. Reducing treatment times also increases treatment accuracy, since patient movement is reduced.

Enhanced Precision

TrueBeam’s precision is measured in increments of less than a millimeter. This accuracy is made possible by the system’s sophisticated architecture that synchronises imaging, patient positioning, motion management, beam shaping and dose delivery, performing accuracy checks every 10 milliseconds throughout the entire treatment. Critical data points are measured continually as a treatment progresses, ensuring that the system maintains a “true isocenter” or focal point of treatment.

Faster Imaging at Lower Doses

TrueBeam’s imaging technology can produce three-dimensional images to fine tune tumor targeting in 60 per cent less time. Additional functionality makes it possible to create images with 25 per cent less X-ray dose. TrueBeam can be used for radiotherapy treatments, including image-guided radiotherapy and radiosurgery treatments.