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VERO: a game-changer in cancer treatment

June 15, 2017

The VERO machine, now installed at BC Cancer, is the most advanced stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) system available in the world. SBRT involves delivering multiple beams of radiation from outside the body in a concentrated (high dose) manner from various directions, effectively targeting a tumour from every possible angle. It’s a highly effective form of treatment for those who have cancers that are hard to address through surgery, such as head and neck cancers, or in cases where a patient’s cancer is surrounded by healthy tissue that can be easily injured with conventional radiotherapy.

VERO integrates several cutting-edge of precision radiotherapy technologies into one, boosting our ability to deliver the most precise treatment for patients. The machine has a very advanced built-in imaging system that uses infra-red and X-rays to locate the position of the cancer within the body, and has a rigid ring structure and high precision multi-leaf collimators to deliver the radiation beams down to a fraction of millimetre accuracy. The machine also has the unique ability to steer the radiation beam to track a moving tumor, such as in a lung cancer or liver cancer that moves with the patient’s breathing. This is very difficult to accomplish using a standard machine adapted for SBRT.

This extraordinary level of precision that VERO offers is expected to help increase patient outcomes. As a radiation oncologist, it is exciting for me to be able to work with such a ground-breaking piece of equipment. The first patient to be treated with this cutting-edge machine is expected to take place next week – an important moment that does well to highlight our commitment at BC Cancer to deliver the most advanced treatment to patients in British Columbia.

But perhaps what is most exciting about VERO is how it will allow us to make further advancements in cancer research and care – more on that next week.

Thanks for reading,

Dr. Roy Ma