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VERT

Applying video-game tech to making radiotherapists more effective at treating cancer throughout the world.

The multi award-winning Virtual Environment Radiotherapy Training (VERT) system developed by the University of Hull uses advanced computer graphics to simulate a life-sized treatment room.

Our researchers used the technology normally featured in video games to develop a 3D virtual replica of a fully equipped therapy suite – including a simulated patient.

This allows trainee radiotherapists to hone their skills in a safe environment without risk to patients or blocking access to real equipment.

Trainees use head-tracking technology to walk around this virtual treatment room. It allows them to learn how to maximise radiation delivery to the tumour while minimising damage to the rest of the body.

VERT even improves on reality by making the patient transparent – revealing the location of the tumour and neighbouring organs.

VERT even improves on reality by making the patient transparent – revealing the location of the tumour and neighbouring organs.

The UK Government was so impressed that VERT became part of its Cancer Reform Strategy. It has been rolled out to all of the country’s radiography training schools and the majority of radiography hospitals.

A new system ‘Proton VERT’ is due to launch shortly. Proton VERT uses the same virtual technology to train clinicians to administer proton beam therapy, a new type of radiotherapy.

Proton beam therapy is advantageous in treating certain types of cancer but facilities are expensive to operate. 

Proton VERT provides a way for clinicians to be trained outside of actual treatment rooms thereby alleviating the pressure on limited resources.

To market VERT commercially, a spin-off company, Vertual Ltd, was created. It now has a multimillion-pound turnover and more than 130 customers in 25 different countries, including Canada, USA, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Japan, Czech Republic, Sweden and China.

The VERT system was developed during a six-year collaboration with Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust.

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