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Cancer Treatment Innovators secure Significant Investment from The Capital Fund


PRESS RELEASE – 15 August 2007

Medical technology company, Vision RT, specialists in 3D surface imaging for use in radiotherapy treatments, has secured substantial new funding, including an investment of £250,000 from The Capital Fund. Established in 2002, The Capital Fund is a £50 million venture capital fund that backs fast growing small and medium-sized companies in the Greater London area, and is the largest of the nine UK regional venture capital funds.

Vision RT was founded in 2001 by Norman Smith (chief executive), Ivan Meir (chief technology officer) and Peter Kalms (now a non-executive director), who identified a need for better patient set-up and monitoring for radiotherapy treatment. During courses of radiotherapy, it is vital that the patient is positioned correctly so that the stream of radiation is delivered to the tumour and avoids the surrounding tissue, particularly when the tumour is located close to critical organs.

The solution that Vision RT came up with – AlignRT® – produces a three dimensional model of the patient using a two-camera stereo vision technique. This enables more accurate patient set-up prior to each treatment session.

Norman Smith said: “Over the past ten years, radiation delivery technology has developed so that it can be accurate to within a couple of millimetres. Published studies on partial breast irradiation patients have shown that traditional patient positioning methods, using lasers or portal imaging, don’t get close to this level of accuracy, which means errors can be as high as six to eight millimetres. In contrast, studies to date suggest that AlignRT is accurate to within two or three millimetres.”

AlignRT also incorporates sophisticated patient monitoring facilities, meaning that if a patient moves during a treatment, the system detects this and automatically shuts off the radiation beam to prevent damage to non-tumour tissue. Combined with its auto-correction capability, AlignRT can facilitate high-end treatments including those that deploy larger doses in fewer fractions (treatment sessions), meaning that patients can be treated more effectively than has previously been possible.

A further difficulty, particularly during lung cancer treatment, is coping with respiratory motion as it moves the position of the tumour. To solve this, the Vision RT team has developed GateCT and GateRT, which track the breathing cycle via 3D surface imaging at up to 20 frames per second. GateCT is used in conjunction with a CT scanner for the 4D planning of treatment and GateRT enables gated radiotherapy at specific regions of the breathing cycle. In other words, the radiation beam is turned off and on so that it only fires when the tumour is in the correct location.

It is estimated that there are around 8,000 radiotherapy machines worldwide, with approximately 400 new systems produced each year. Dr Smith said: “Our technology can be installed on new or existing equipment, and has been specifically designed to interface with third party radiotherapy devices.”

Vision RT systems are already successfully deployed at many of the world’s leading radiotherapy treatment centres, including Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and the Royal Marsden Hospital in London.

Dr Smith said: “The new funding will allow us to develop a direct representation in the US, a huge potential market for us, and push forward with the further development of GateCT and GateRT. We are delighted to have secured the support of The Capital Fund – Ian Cameron and his team were extremely helpful throughout the due diligence process.

The Capital Fund’s Investment Director, Ian Cameron, said: “We are very pleased to be investing in Vision RT at such an exciting stage of the company’s development. The new round of funding will allow the Vision RT team to take the Company forward on an even more secure footing.

- ENDS -

Image available on request
Vision RT’s revolutionary Alig


Publisher Contact Information:

The Capital Fund
+44 (0)1865 811199
m.henry@oxin.co.uk

Company profile of The Capital Fund
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