Life Vincent Pallotti Hospital first in Africa for new treatment of multiple brain tumours

(L-R): Lucinda Oosthuizen, Radiotherapist, Quinton Africa, Senior Radiotherapist, Dr Jacquiline Hall, Radiation Oncologist, Nafeesah Abrahams, Radiotherapist and Ali Gurmani, Physicist

Radiosurgery surgeons at Life Vincent Pallotti Hospital have successfully performed innovative new treatment for multiple brain tumours, a first in Africa.

Naomi Venter, an 80-year old cancer survivor from Constantia in Cape Town, is one of two patients who recently received multiple brain tumour treatment at Life Vincent Pallotti Hospital. She was reluctant to undergo whole-brain radiotherapy and the new Novalis Radiosurgery treatment provided an alternative solution.

A brain tumour is a growth of cells in the brain that multiplies in an abnormal, uncontrollable manner. Brain tumours are graded according to how fast they grow and how likely they are to recur after treatment. Many primary brain tumours which originate in the brain are benign. However, a secondary, or metastatic brain tumour, occurs when cancer cells spread to the brain from another organ[1].

Mrs Venter says she is honoured to be one of the first people to receive this life saving new treatment at Life Vincent Pallotti Hospital and is happy to have this facility within easy reach of her home.

As one of the most advanced cancer treatment options available, Novalis Radiosurgery is changing the face of cancer treatment. The treatment has already helped thousands of people continue to work, spend time with family and friends, and take part in their favourite activities, all while fighting cancer.

Life Vincent Pallotti Hospital opened the doors to its state-of-the-art oncology centre five years ago and was one of the first facilities in Africa to offer stereotactic radiotherapy with the NovalisTx equipment. The technology from Brainlab allows the centre to once again claim a first in Africa.

“Undergoing treatment for a tumour or lesion can be challenging, it is for this reason that the Novalis Tx™ Stereotactic RadioSurgery was designed. The Novalis Tx technology shapes the radiation beam precisely according to the patient’s tumours, ensuring that the best possible treatment dose is delivered while protecting healthy tissue. 

“The procedure has been successfully performed to assist more than 1000 patients and the software is being adopted by more radiotherapy centres worldwide.” – Dr. Jacqueline Hall.

“The unit rotates around the patient to deliver treatment beams anywhere in the body from virtually any angle. The radiation beam also adapts to the patient’s breathing and other body movements to continuously maintain safe, complete and accurate treatment,” says Dr. Jacqueline Hall, Radiation Oncologist at Life Vincent Pallotti Hospital.

Brainlab has been a key player in the field of precision radiotherapy and stereotactic radiosurgery for over two decades and has built strong partnerships with Life Healthcare Group. “We have invested in the technology that Brainlab has offered our oncology centres and have seen the substantial difference it has made in the treatment journey of our patients,” explains Dr. Hall.

Previously, patients received whole-brain radiotherapy. This resulted in substantial damage to healthy tissue. An alternative was to treat tumours individually during multiple sessions. With the Novalis Radiosurgery, patients can now receive safe treatment for multiple tumours during a single therapy session. There is no need for anesthesia, and while patient responses vary, most are able to resume their normal routine within a few hours after treatment.

Training of staff, upgrading of the facilities and services offered at the oncology centre is ongoing. Additional new services are planned for the near future to ensure the unit at Life Vincent Pallotti Hospital continues to be a world-class cancer centre of excellence.

“The procedure has been successfully performed to assist more than 1000 patients and the software is being adopted by more radiotherapy centres worldwide. We are therefore planning to offer the new treatment to more patients and will be conducting additional on-site training by the Brainlab team for the radiotherapy team and radiation oncologists,” explains Dr. Hall.

“At Life Healthcare we are especially proud of the advances made in offering technologically innovative radiotherapy in three of our units; Life Hilton Private Hospital in Hilton KwaZulu-Natal, Life Vincent Pallotti Hospital, in Cape Town and most recently at our Life Eugene Marais Hospital in Pretoria. We strive to deliver market-leading quality care across our service offerings and one of the ways we can do this is by being at the forefront of providing innovative technology to our patients,” concludes Dr. Paul Soko, Life Healthcare’s Clinical Directorate Executive.