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Life Oncology launches first AI-driven Ethos™ radiotherapy cancer treatment in Sub-Saharan Africa

The Life Oncology unit at Life Vincent Pallotti Hospital launched the Ethos™ radiotherapy system, a revolutionary new technology, the first in Sub-Saharan Africa, which uses artificial intelligence (AI) and adaptive treatment to adjust cancer treatments in response to patients’ unique, changing needs.

The Ethos™ radiotherapy system allows radiotherapy specialists to treat cancer patients with  the most accurate, precision techniques. “Adaptive therapy provides the ability to adapt the treatment plan based on tumour and anatomical changes. The goal is to better target the tumour, reduce radiation dose of healthy tissue, and potentially improve overall outcomes”, says Dr Louis Kathan, Life Healthcare’s Chief Medical Officer in South Africa.

Dr Kathan, who is also a radiation oncologist with close to 15 years of patient treatment experience, explains that the streamlined workflow of Ethos™ radiotherapy is enabled by its AI-driven planning and contouring capabilities. “The system allows us to use AI to adapt to a patient’s anatomy. This allows us to make decisions more efficiently on a daily basis based on each patient’s individual needs. The ability of the machine to deliver on-couch adaptive treatment puts the patient at the centre of care”, he added.

“Clinicians globally have waited for the day when they have the the ability to adapt radiotherapy treatments to changes in patient anatomy. Typically changes to a patient’s treatment plan due to changes in anatomy requires time-consuming re-scanning and re-planning between treatment sessions, which could take up to two days. The Ethos™ radiotherapy adaptive technology allows the treatment plan to be adjusted daily, in real time and the treatment to be planned and administered, all within 20 to 30 minutes”, says Kulthum Ismail, unit manager: radiation therapy at the Life Oncology unit based at Life Vincent Pallotti Hospital.

The planning and treatment all happens in one session, making it a faster process compared to existing radiotherapy technology, although Kulthum added that there is still a big role to play for current systems being used.

The Life Oncology unit at Life Vincent Pallotti Hospital is committed to delivering the very best oncology care with substantial investments made in recent years to technologies to place the hospital at the forefront of advanced treatments in surgical-, medical-, gynaecological- and radiation oncology. These include:

  • The Novalis Tx delivery system
  • Image guided radiosurgery for tumour motion monitoring
  • Respiratory gating (respiration triggered dose delivery)
  • Minimally invasive frameless radiosurgery for patient comfort
  • Radiofrequency ablation
  • Elements Multiple Brain Mets Stereotactic Radiosurgery System which delivers powerful treatment that targets multiple brain metastases (more than one cancer lesion in the brain) simultaneously, faster and more precisely

The Ethos™ radiotherapy system at Life Vincent Pallotti Hospital is already being used to treat patients with cervical, rectum, lung and prostate cancer. In time, other cancers are hoped to be included in the treatment programme. 

“The Ethos™ radiotherapy system offers a faster and more personalised, targeted approach to radiotherapy treatment which means we really are placing the patient at the centre of care,” said Adam Pyle, Life Healthcare’s CEO for South Africa. “It’s our way of navigating our patients into the future of oncology care as we continue to live our purpose of making life better.”

Pete Wharton-Hood, Group Chief Executive for Life Healthcare added that the Group’s aspiration to be a leading cancer care provider has taken a substantial step forward with the expansion at the Life Oncology unit at Life Vincent Pallotti Hospital in Cape Town. “As a people and patient-centric organisation we continuously seek ways to build on our existing technological offerings and services to consistently improve patient outcomes, enhance our patient experience and drive accessible and affordable healthcare. This means we get to better support our specialists who we partner with, so that together we continue delivering improved patient quality, patient experience, efficiency and clinical excellence.”


  1. Varian Medical System, Ethos™ Therapy: Intelligent Adaptation Comes to the Clinic, Internet, Accessed 18 October 2022