​Robot cancer tool, CyberKnife is a game-changer for patients

Tue Dec. 13th 2022

The launch of a high-precision radiation oncology system called CyberKnife is set to dramatically reduce the treatment time and impacts of radiation therapy on patients, heralding a new era for cancer care in New Zealand.

The CyberKnife uses radiation beams with sub-millimetre accuracy to target cancers including prostate cancer, spine cancer, brain cancer and liver cancer.

Patients at Auckland Radiation Oncology (ARO) will start receiving treatment using the CyberKnife from mid-December 2022.

ARO Clinical Director Dr Benji Benjamin says in certain types of cancers, CyberKnife is more accurate than traditional radiation therapy, with potentially thousands of smaller beams delivering radiation to the tumour with sub-millimetre precision, minimising damage to surrounding healthy structures and organs.

“Introducing CyberKnife to our suite of tools is about giving New Zealanders access to world-leading treatment options and doing what we can to minimise the impact of an already challenging time in people’s lives,” he says.

ARO’s Chief Physicist, Dr Ian Hanson adds that during treatment,  CyberKnife will detect any movement of the patient or the tumour and will automatically move the robot to ensure that the cancer is always precisely targeted.

“This allows for higher doses of radiation to be delivered to the tumour each day, substantially shortening overall treatment times whilst minimising any unwanted side effects,” explains Dr Hanson

“For example, instead of up to 20 rounds of radiation over four weeks for prostate cancer, with Cyberknife patients will likely only need one week of five highly targeted treatment. This could be game changing for New Zealand men with prostate cancer.”

Auckland Radiation Oncology is the first radiation oncology provider in the country to offer this next wave of cancer treatment.

CyberKnife’s arrival is part of a $40 million investment by the provider and its partners, Southern Cross Healthcare and MercyAscot, to advance cancer care in New Zealand.  

“Enabling new technology at our clinic is a huge driver for ARO. We are committed to providing patients with options and access to the best treatment pathways possible in their fight against cancer,” says Dr Benjamin.

“We are proud to lead New Zealand into a new era of radiation treatment and to be unlocking new tools for the benefit of as many patients as possible.”

As well as providing treatment to private healthcare patients ARO hopes to work with Health NZ to extend the reach of CyberKnife and support all New Zealand patients who could benefit from access to this tool.

Chris Tse, Chair of Brain Tumour Support Trust New Zealand, says innovations in patient care are critical for cancer treatment in New Zealand, particularly for rare cancers like brain tumours.

“Cancer patients must make vitally important decisions about their care pathway, and we’re thrilled that New Zealanders are gaining access to revolutionary technology like Cyberknife.

“We advocate for the best treatments, care and support for patients, so they can have the best possible outcomes and quality of life. With greater accuracy, Cyberknife can assist in achieving this.”

CyberKnife Auckland Radiation Oncology video 

Learn more about CyberKnife for prostate cancer


​Robot cancer tool, CyberKnife is a game-changer for patients