Manchester, UK – Elekta (NSE:EKTAb) and Royal Philips (NYSE:PHG, AEX:PHIA) announced today that The Christie NHS Foundation Trust (Manchester, UK), a specialist cancer center, will join a consortium whose mission is to develop the clinical value of an integrated magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) guided radiation therapy system. Such a system would, in principle, improve the practice of radiotherapy via real-time visualization of cancer targets.
In collaboration with clinical partners, Philips and Elekta will seek to merge advanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging( MRI, picture on the left) with precision radiation therapy (picture on the right) in a single MRI-guided radiation therapy system. This will enable doctors to achieve exceptional soft tissue imaging during radiation therapy and to adapt treatment delivery in real-time for extremely precise cancer treatments
“The Christie was an essential participant in the project 14 years ago that laid the foundations of the use of cone beam computed tomography [CBCT] at the time of treatment to improve radiotherapy delivery,” says Niklas Savander, Elekta President and CEO. “It has a dedicated team of researchers in medical physics, radiotherapy and clinical oncology and MR imaging that is committed to the most accurate and individualized delivery of radiation therapy. The Christie has the perfect blend of experience and expertise to further help the consortium make MRI-guided radiation therapy a reality.”
“We are very excited to be a part of an international consortium of truly exceptional centers that are striving as we are to develop technological innovations to benefit patients,” says Dr. Ananya Choudhury, Consultant and Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer, Clinical Oncology at The Christie. “Unlike any imaging modality now in use in combination with radiotherapy, MRI can provide highly detailed images of the tumor and surrounding normal tissues. Moreover, MRI will permit physicians to non-invasively visualize and track the target during beam delivery – real-time imaging – which will further improve treatment accuracy.”
The Christie joined the recent research consortium meeting at Utrecht, where the clinical indications that would benefit the most from the use of MRI-guided radiation therapy were discussed. These targets are typically going to be in anatomy that changes its position and shape either from day to day or during the treatment. The consortium anticipates that the use of MRI imaging at the time of treatment will result in a considerable increase in the accuracy of the placement of the dose, reducing the need for large safety margins around the tumor target.
“When we first started this journey with Elekta and the University Medical Center Utrecht more than a decade ago, we already had a clear vision, yet we could only dream of today’s MRI imaging performance,” says Gene Saragnese, CEO Imaging Systems at Philips Healthcare. “Since then we have come a long way and I am convinced that with the current state of the technology and the growing consortium of leaders in radiation therapy delivery, we have the prerequisites to make the integrated MRI-guided radiation therapy technology a game changer in cancer care.”
The MRI-guided radiation therapy system is a works in progress and not available for sale or distribution.