Feature | May 02, 2013

Elekta, Philips Research MRI-Guided Radiation Therapy

Dutch clinic joins group dedicated to developing next-generation radiotherapy for treatment of cancer patients

May 2, 2013 — Elekta and Royal Philips Electronics announced that the Netherlands Cancer Institute-Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital (NKI-AVL, Amsterdam, the Netherlands) has signed an agreement to join a research group to advance the development of an image-guided treatment technology for cancer care. The technology merges radiation therapy and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology in a single system. NKI-AVL is the third member of the research consortium, which will comprise leading radiation oncology centers and clinicians, and already includes the University Medical Center Utrecht (also in the Netherlands) and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Uniting MRI with a radiation therapy system will provide physicians with exceptional images of a patient's soft tissues and tumor during radiation therapy. This innovation also aims to permit clinicians to adapt treatment delivery in real time for the most precise cancer treatments possible.

"MRI has steadily revolutionized healthcare since its introduction nearly three decades ago, giving clinicians unparalleled views of soft tissues and pathology. Merging this diagnostic capability with the capacity to also treat disease in the same frame of reference could dramatically improve cancer management," says Tomas Puusepp, Elekta president and CEO. "The other consortium members at Elekta, Philips, University Medical Center Utrecht and MD Anderson are delighted that NKI-AVL — an internationally renowned medical center — has joined us in this important effort."

Marcel Verheij, head of the radiotherapy division at NKI-AVL, said, "MRI-guided radiotherapy allows optimal imaging and will therefore improve the accuracy of our treatment delivery. Building on our experience with cone-beam CT-guidance, we are highly motivated to collaborate within the research consortium and contribute to the implementation of MRI-guided adaptive radiotherapy."

"This research exemplifies the essential role that imaging plays in the development of more targeted treatments for cancer," said Gene Saragnese, CEO of imaging systems at Philips Healthcare. "The NKI-AVL has played a crucial role in the software development for CT-guided radiation therapy a decade ago, and this expertise complements the skills that we already possess in this research consortium."

Prior to the establishment of the research consortium, Elekta, Philips and the University Medical Center Utrecht built and tested a prototype system that integrates a linear accelerator and a 1.5T MRI system. The success of these efforts enabled the project to move to the next phase of development and testing by the growing select group of consortium partners.

Radiation therapy and medical imaging already play an essential role in treatment planning, delivery and aftercare, and are proven, cost-effective and safe methods for the treatment of individuals with cancer. Radiotherapy is a critical modality for cancer treatment, either as a frontline treatment or used with other modalities, such as chemotherapy. The procedure involves identifying cancerous tissue and irradiating it with high-energy radiation beams in a way that maximizes sparing of healthy tissues near the tumor. 

The integrated MRI-guided radiation therapy system is in development and not available for sale.

For more information: www.elekta.com

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