A patient under the CyberKnife

CyberKnife: state-of-the-art radiotherapy

CyberKnife is the first – and only – robotic radiotherapy system, which means more accurate, more intensive and less damaging cancer treatment. 

Thanks to your support, The Royal Marsden was one of the very first hospitals in the UK to offer this pioneering equipment.

What is the CyberKnife?

CyberKnife is a robotic radiotherapy system that can deliver radiation to patients with pinpoint accuracy. This means less healthy tissue is damaged during treatment, and less time in hospital.

Because the radiotherapy is focused, the beams can be more intense than other treatments and so fewer sessions are needed. Treatment for lung cancer could be reduced from six weeks to three days! Features of the CyberKnife include X-ray cameras that monitor the position of the tumour and sensors that monitor the patient's breathing.

As the CyberKnife’s robotic arm can be positioned at almost any angle, it’s ideal for treating hard-to-reach tumours like brain, spine, lung, neck and prostate cancers too. Dr Nick Van As, our Medical Director, says, "It’s what we’ve always wanted to be able to do."

"I was treated like a VIP"

78-year-old Val Warren from Kingston received CyberKnife treatment for ovarian cancer. Val, who works as a lunchtime supervisor at a local school, said:

I can’t speak more highly of my CyberKnife treatment at The Royal Marsden. The staff and the environment was lovely. 

I was treated like a VIP. Everyone was so nice. During my CyberKnife treatment I would lie very still for about 45-minutes - my sessions were long as I had quite a strong dose of radiotherapy targeted at my pelvis.

While you lie there the machine moves backwards and forwards around you. The CyberKnife room is beautiful - to help pass the time during treatment I would count the blossoms on the celling.

Standard radiotherapy can be quite gruelling. For those patients who can receive radiotherapy with CyberKnife, it has really transformed their treatment.

Helen Taylor, our CyberKnife Lead Radiographer

Worldwide trial

The Royal Marsden is also leading international research into the benefits of using CyberKnife to treat prostate cancer.

The Prostate Advances in Comparative Evidence (PACE) study is comparing CyberKnife with current standard treatments of surgery and radiotherapy.

We hope the trial will show that CyberKnife offers patients even better outcomes, and that it creates fewer side effects that can affect a patient’s quality of life.

Supporters of The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity raised
£4.1 million
for the purchase and installation of CyberKnife

Invest in the best

We would not be able to invest in state-of-the-art equipment like CyberKnife without your support. Please help us continue to do so.