Date Posted – 8 April 2021
The first Gamma Knife to be installed in Victoria, at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, is now fully operational, with the first patients to receive the non-invasive radiosurgery sharing their experiences.
The Gamma Knife is a cutting-edge technology that uses radiation to precisely target and treat tumours and other neurological conditions. It can be used to deliver treatment to hard-to-access parts of the brain.
Peter Mac Department of Radiation Oncology Deputy Director and lead clinician for the Victorian Gamma Knife Service, Dr Claire Phillips said the first patients had been referred and treated within the new Victorian Gamma Knife Service based at Peter Mac.
“The Gamma Knife is completely non-invasive and in just one session, without the use of anaesthesia, we can precisely target and treat one or multiple tumours, with the patient going home straight afterwards,” Dr Phillips said.
“Early patient results are positive, and this cutting-edge technology will improve the lives of hundreds of Victorians whose treatment was previously considered off limits to even the most skilled surgeons.”
Florence Lagier was booked for neurosurgery for her vestibular schwannoma (sometimes called acoustic neuroma) when, in late 2020, she saw on the TV news that Gamma Knife was coming to Peter Mac.
“I asked to have the Gamma Knife procedure instead of the invasive surgery,” Ms Lagier said.
“My recovery time would have been six to eight weeks however, with the Gamma Knife, the recovery time is nil and I can go home the same day with less stress for me and my family.”
The Gamma Knife is a stereotactic radiotherapy machine designed specifically to treat the head. It can treat tumours, vascular malformations and other abnormalities – with minimal effect on healthy tissue.
It also offers a benefit over other forms of radiotherapy which typically require the patient to return for many successive treatment sessions to receive the required therapeutic dose.
The Gamma Knife at Peter Mac is the first in Victoria and only the third in Australia, and Victoria’s Gamma Knife service expected to treat up to 500 patients per year.
The $8 million Gamma Knife was co-funded equally by the Victorian Government and through the generous donations to the Peter MacCallum Cancer Foundation.
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