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Project information

CyberKnife Technology

The Royal Marsden Hospital is developing its radiotherapy provision through the introduction of an innovative robotic radio surgery system. The CyberKnife will allow us to continue leading the way in pioneering clinical technology advancement, whilst offering our patients a unique form of treatment.

Due to be purchased 2011

Charity information: The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity

The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity logo
  • Need


    At present, The Royal Marsden’s radiotherapy treatment is delivered through the use of a fixed linear accelerator, which allows limited field arrangements for determining the treatment area, with x-ray images of the tumour being taken only before & after a radiotherapy session. This therefore increases the risk of damage to surrounding healthy nerves & tissue, due to patient & tumour movement during treatment, especially when treating some rarer & more complex tumours.


    CyberKnife will take x-ray photos during the patient’s session, enabling it to track the tumour’s movement to continuously ensure that radiation is directed solely onto the cancer. This significantly reduces risk to healthy tissue & nerves, allowing for a higher dose of radiation to be delivered with confidence that the rays are only affecting the necessary area.

    This increased accuracy & concentration will mean fewer treatment sessions & will allow us to treat more complex tumours.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Increased accuracy of radiotherapy delivery.


    » CyberKnife will continuously track tumour movement to direct radiation solely onto the cancer & reduce risk to surrounding healthy nerves & tissue.

    What success will look like

    Success will be less damage to surrounding healthy tissue & nerves & the ability to deliver radiotherapy to 0.5mm accuracy (average levels of accuracy are currently around 2mm).

    Aim 2

    Fewer hospital visits for treatment.


    » CyberKnife technology enables large fractions of radiotherapy to be delivered with far more accuracy, so the patient requires fewer hospital visits.

    What success will look like

    Success will be increasing accuracy of delivery, therefore being able to apply higher doses, meaning up to a 10th less sessions are needed to give the same amount of radiation.

    Aim 3

    Ability to treat a wide range of cancers.


    » Increased accuracy of delivery will enable new treatment options for some rarer & more complex tumours where risk to nearby nerves & tissue is higher.

    What success will look like

    Success will be more accurately treating cancers such as lung, due to continuous tracking of tumour movement, & some head & neck due to reduced risk of damage to nearby nerves.

    Aim 4

    Advance national & international research.


    » We will become a flagship academic luminary site for CyberKnife in the UK, developing & sharing protocols & conducting specific clinical trials.

    What success will look like

    Success will be using data gained from treating patients with this technology to research, develop & share protocols & developing trials to integrate CyberKnife with chemotherapy.

    Aim 5

    Offer patients a wider choice of treatment.


    » We strive to provide our patients with the very best in cancer treatment & care. Offering CyberKnife will increase their treatment options.

    What success will look like

    Success will be allowing our patients an increased choice treatment options & being able to provide methods of treatment that are most suited to their particular tumour type.

  • Impact


    The Royal Marsden will become the primary CyberKnife training & development centre in the UK. Other centres will then benefit from our work so that this treatment can be made available to other patients in their local hospitals in the future.

    When other hospitals have introduced CyberKnife, it is envisaged that The Royal Marsden will lead multi-centre studies to further enhance & influence essential radiotherapy development both nationally & internationally.


    As a world-leader in radiology development, The Royal Marsden is pioneering this technology & will lead clinical trials & studies to determine its effectiveness & suitability for different cancers. As with all innovative treatments, the potential extent of this technology's success is not yet known. However, it is envisaged that it will improve radiation delivery & outcomes for many patients, whilst providing them with an additional choice of treatment.


    Donors to the Charity's appeals receive updates regarding projects that they have significantly funded. All developments are also documented in the Charity's Annual Reviews & newsletters, which are sent to supporters who wish to receive them.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £4,100,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £2,300,000 Purchase Buying the CyberKnife machine
      £1,800,000 Installation Building a fully radiation-protected environment with associated patient facilities.

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Charitable Donations £200,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    The Royal Marsden was founded in 1851 & treats cancer patients from across the world, whilst also carrying out pioneering cancer research. The Royal Marsden has two sites, with the original hospital in Chelsea & another in Sutton, which opened in 1963.
    CyberKnife will be installed in the Chelsea hospital & will be used to treat all Royal Marsden patients.


    All Royal Marsden patients for whom this form of treatment is appropriate will be offered the option of CyberKnife radiotherapy. Findings from The Royal Marsden's CyberKnife research & specialist training will also increasingly benefit cancer patients around the world.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    The Royal Marsden’s Clinical Oncology Department has been at the forefront of developing technical radiotherapy in the UK for over twenty years. We have a proven record of innovative advances in treatment & producing research that has revolutionised radiotherapy delivery internationally.

    By combining this highly advanced technology with our specialist expertise, we will be one of the first centres in the UK to make this unique form of treatment available both private & NHS patients.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Dr Nick Van As

    Dr Van As is The Royal Marsden's Consultant in Urology & GI. His role will be to oversee patient treatment & clinical trials with the CyberKnife.

CyberKnife could improve life for hundreds of patients. I’m proud to say I work at The Royal Marsden & we’re pioneering new cancer treatments.

Dr Nick Van As, Consultant Urology & GI