Amsterdam, the Netherlands – Elekta (EKTA-B.ST), Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA) and The Netherlands Cancer Institute, (NKI, Amsterdam, the Netherlands) today announced the installation of a high-field (1.5 Tesla) MR-guided linear accelerator (MR-linac) system. The Elekta MR-linac is designed to capture high-quality images of tumors and surrounding tissue, allowing physicians to rapidly assess and respond by modifying the radiation treatment, a responsive intervention approach.
The Netherlands Cancer Institute is a member of the Elekta MR-linac Consortium, founded in 2012 by Elekta and technology partner Philips. The consortium partners are committed to demonstrating that the use of the MR-linac will enable them to elevate the standard of care for the most prominent cancers that account for more than half of cancer mortality worldwide as well as less prevalent cancers that are currently not well controlled.
Elekta’s MR-linac integrates a state-of-the-art radiotherapy system and a high-field MRI scanner with sophisticated software that allows a physician to clearly see the patient’s anatomy in real time. The MR-linac is designed to improve targeting of tumor tissue while reducing exposure of normal tissue to radiation beams. It will allow physicians to precisely locate a tumor, as well as lock onto it during delivery, even when tumor tissue is moving during treatment or changes shape, location or size between treatment sessions.
“MR-linac is an obvious evolution in radiation therapy that has the potential to significantly improve the way we treat cancer,” said professor Uulke van der Heide, PhD, medical physicist and group leader, Department of Radiation Oncology, The Netherlands Cancer Institute. “The ability to actually see that we are delivering the correct radiation dose to the intended target has the potential to reduce side effects and improve quality of life, allow for escalated dose delivery and ultimately increase our ability to control tumors. My colleagues and I are proud to be part of this visionary global research initiative and believe that together we have the potential to harness the technology that will allow us to reduce the global burden of cancer.”
The NKI is the third site to install the MR-linac system, which is already under functional evaluation at University Medical Center Utrecht, the Netherlands and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, USA. By year end 2016, all seven leading cancer centers participating in the consortium will have installed the Elekta MR-linac. Consortium members are currently engaged in various stages of evaluation of the technology and are collaborating to establish new clinical protocols and develop methods for data collection and analysis.
“Our long-term relationship with The NKI has yielded important innovations that have helped advance the safety and efficacy of radiotherapy. The institute’s role in developing cone beam CT imaging technology improved care and outcomes for patients around the globe and we anticipate that The NKI will play a similarly essential role in realizing the potential of high-field MR-linac,” said Tomas Puusepp, President and CEO of Elekta. “Elekta has a long heritage of strategic collaborations with leading cancer researchers and practitioners and we rely on these relationships to help validate our technologies and to enable us to continually improve upon them.”
“The clinical effectiveness of radiation treatment depends highly on the quality and accuracy of radiotherapy guidance and delivery,” said Rob Cascella, CEO Imaging Businesses at Philips. “In securing that quality and accuracy, MR imaging is emerging as a promising oncology tool for disease localization and quantification, therapy planning, treatment guidance, and therapy assessment. Through the collaboration with Elekta and the consortium partners such as The NKI, I am convinced that we have the prerequisites to make MR-guided radiotherapy a meaningful success for both patients and care providers.”
Elekta’s MR-linac is a work in progress and not available for sale or distribution.