News | Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) | July 13, 2017

Elekta Begins MR-Linac Installation at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Magnetic resonance radiation therapy system will focus on advanced image-guided radiotherapy for cancer patients

July 13, 2017 — Elekta and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre have initiated installation of Elekta’s MR-linac, an investigational magnetic resonance radiation therapy (MR/RT) system at the Odette Cancer Centre, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto.

“This new equipment will allow us to better understand tumor response during treatment and give us a way of looking at the tumor that was not possible before,” said Gregory Czarnota, M.D., head of radiation oncology at Odette Cancer Centre.

The MR-linac is the only MR/RT system that integrates a premium (1.5 Tesla) MR scanner with an advanced linear accelerator and intelligent software, according to Elekta. It is expected to deliver precisely targeted radiation doses while simultaneously capturing high-quality MR images, which will allow clinicians to visualize tumors at any time and adapt the treatment accordingly. 

“Real-time understanding of tumor response will help us adjust treatment, focus radiation on tumors with pinpoint precision, and spare healthy tissue from radiation,” said Arjun Sahgal, M.D., head of Odette’s Cancer Ablation Therapy Program. “We are proud of all the work that has taken place to bring this technology to Sunnybrook.”

Sunnybrook is a member of Elekta’s MR-linac Consortium, a global collaboration of institutions focused on uniting leaders in radiation oncology, MR-imaging, physics and radiotherapists. The mission of the consortium is to investigate how MR-linac technology can lead to improved patient outcomes for existing radiation therapy indications and extend radiation therapy for additional indications.

Elekta introduced the MR-linac technology under the name of Unity during the European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology (ESTRO) congress in Vienna, Austria in April this year.

Installation of Elekta’s MR-linac is complete at the six other consortium member sites including:

  • University Medical Center Utrecht, the Netherlands;
  • The Netherlands Cancer Institute-Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital, Amsterdam, the Netherlands;
  • The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston;
  • The Institute of Cancer Research, working with its clinical partner The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, London, England;
  • The Froedtert & Medical College of Wisconsin Clinical Cancer Center at Froedtert Hospital, Milwaukee; and
  • The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester, U.K.

Sunnybrook is the lead consortium site for developing applications of the MR-linac in the treatment of glioblastoma, the most common malignant brain tumor in adults. Sahgal and his team have developed a protocol to evaluate advanced imaging for primary cancers of the brain and have designed a clinical trial that will explore using the technology to adapt the radiation dose delivered to primary brain tumors on a daily basis. Sunnybrook anticipates that it will initiate patient treatments once the device is Health Canada approved.

Elekta Unity is a work in progress and not available for sale or distribution.

Read the article “MRI-guided Radiation Therapy.”

For more information:


Related Articles on MRI-guided Radiation Therapy:

MRI-guided Radiation Therapy (2017)

First Patients Treated with ViewRay's MRIdian Linac at Henry Ford Health System

Early Clinical Experience with ViewRay's MRIdian Linac Presented at AAPM 2017

MRI-Guided Radiation Therapy (2016)

MRI Brings New Vision to Radiation Therapy

Dutch Medical Center Begins Installation of World's First High-field MRI-guided Radiation Therapy System

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