Vision RT selected as finalist for prestigious Royal Academy of Engineering Award

1st June 2017
Nicola Sheppey

Vision RT is delighted to announce it is a finalist for the Royal Academy of Engineering’s renowned MacRobert Award, the UK’s longest running and most prestigious national prize for engineering innovation.

The awards have a reputation for spotting the ‘next big thing’ in engineering, and every year, three finalists are selected that display outstanding innovation, benefit to society and commercial success. Many previous finalists have become household names in modern technology, transport and healthcare; including EMI, Siemens Magnet Technology, Microsoft, Jaguar Land Rover and Rolls-Royce.

Vision RT, with its product AlignRT, is the originator of, and leader in, Surface Guided Radiation Therapy (SGRT). This is a novel treatment technique that utilizes surface imaging to ensure radiotherapy patients are accurately positioned during set-up and treatment.

Accuracy is vital for successful radiotherapy, both to treat cancer and to avoid damage to healthy tissue. With AlignRT, if the patient moves from the intended treatment position, the system automatically switches off the beam.

As an example, radiation can be a powerful treatment for left breast cancer, but the breast is very close to the heart. AlignRT helps to deliver radiation to patients’ breast area while protecting surrounding healthy tissue from exposure and potential damage. With more conventional treatments, radiation has been shown to cause cardiac perfusion defects in 27% of patients after six months*. In a recently published study, patients were treated with AlignRT and were checked for cardiac perfusion defects after six months. 0% exhibited subsequent defects**.

Jacqui Dorney, UK Specialist Services Lead at GenesisCare, said “We first tried AlignRT as a replacement to our existing systems for breast cancer care in our Nottingham centre. Every single patient preferred it, and we have now eliminated the use of tattoos there, not just for breast patients but also for treatment of other body sites. We have found that with AlignRT we treat patients more quickly and more comfortably.”

MacRobert Award Judge Professor David Delpy CBE FREng FRS FMedSci said: “3D imaging technology has become almost ubiquitous in recent years, but to be able to continuously map the surface of the human body and use this to ensure that the radiation beam is targeted at the ideal point to sub-millimetre accuracies is unprecedented. Such an achievement has required innovation at every level, combining both software and hardware expertise. The impressive team at Vision RT has defined Surface Guided Radiation Therapy as the reference standard for treatment and continues to invest in innovation and to push boundaries, for the benefit of millions of cancer patients.”

“The MacRobert Award is the most prestigious prize of its kind in the UK” says Dr Norman Smith, CEO of Vision RT. “We feel honoured to be listed amongst the great names of Britain’s engineering community as one of only three finalists for the award. This is testament to the significant dedication of our exceptional team and the much-appreciated contributions of our clinical and scientific collaborators and industry partners over the years.”

Vision RT’s technology is in clinical use in hundreds of treatment centres worldwide, including all of the five “Best Hospitals for Cancer” in the USA with nearly 1,000 systems deployed to date worldwide. As the global market leader, Vision RT employs 140 staff and continues to grow rapidly. The technology is now supported by over 60 peer-reviewed papers, and Vision RT’s technology is protected by 44 granted patents and 34 pending.

Learn more about the Award by clicking here. (Link opens in new tab)

*Marks, L. B. et al. The incidence and functional consequences of RT-associated cardiac perfusion defects. Int. J. Radiat. Oncol. Biol.
**Zagar et al. Prospective Assessment of Deep Inspiration Breath Hold to Prevent Radiation Associated Cardiac Perfusion Defects in Patients With Left-Sided Breast Cancer J Appl Clin Med Phys. 2015 ;93:3S 2027