The status of molecular radiotherapy in the UK — new report from BIR
19 April 2011
A new report from The British Institute of Radiology (BIR),
Molecular radiotherapy in the UK: Current status and recommendations
for further investigation, provides an overview
of the current practice of molecular radiotherapy (MRT) in UK
hospitals, both in respect of the availability of treatments and the
range of doses delivered.
It provides evidence that lays the foundations for a concerted
effort to improve the practice of MRT in the UK.
MRT has long been a neglected 'Cinderella' service. Treatment is
minimally invasive and offers effective localised or systemic
therapy, particularly for rare cancers for which there are often few
Recent radiopharmaceutical developments, advances in
quantitative imaging and radiation dosimetry, and a better
understanding of patient care can enable this treatment to realise
its full potential if the issues outlined within this report are
This report reviews the current status and evidence base of MRT
in the UK and provides recommendations to improve its use and
effectiveness. To support this report a survey of 232 UK centres was
carried out to ascertain the range and number of treatments
The motivation for this report stems from the general perception
within the community that scientific developments, support for
infrastructure and the availability of MRT in the UK have not kept
pace with that seen in external beam radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
However, an increasing number of radiopharmaceuticals is becoming
available for a range of treatments and the market is expected to
grow significantly in the next decade.
The report concentrates on therapy procedures that are prevalent
in the UK. Issues of support for MRT are focused on the
radiopharmacy, for routine preparation and further development of
radio-pharmaceuticals, and on physics for imaging and internal
It is hoped that this report will encourage further investigation
into the treatment of cancer with radiopharmaceuticals and will
stimulate the clinical and scientific developments necessary to
support cost-effective growth in this area.
Dr Stuart Green, Director of Medical Physics at University
Hospital Birmingham and past president of the BIR says, "This
project has revealed some striking data on the current practice of
MRT in UK hospitals, both in respect of the availability of
treatments and the range of doses delivered.
"It provides evidence that lays the foundations for a concerted
effort to improve the practice of MRT in the UK. The project has
therefore been at the very heart of the mission of The British
Institute of Radiology. I am very pleased that the BIR has been able
to support this team through such an important project and to
deliver this excellent and timely report. I would like to
congratulate them on a job well done."