Elekta and Royal Philips have announced that The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), London, working with its clinical partner The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, will join the Elekta MR Linac Research Consortium, a group with a mission to develop an integrated magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) guided radiation therapy system.
Uniting an advanced digital linac with an MRI system would greatly enhance real-time visualization of cancer targets during the delivery of therapeutic radiation.
Uwe Oelfke head of the Joint Department of Physics at The Institute of Cancer Research, London and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust said that the development of MRI-guided radiation therapy establishes a new vision for clinical radiation oncology for the treatment of cancer.
"The translation of this novel technical approach into clinical practice faces a number of challenges ideally addressed by a group of world leading radiotherapy centers, each contributing with its specific expertise. Being a member of the consortium is a prerequisite to shape this exciting future of radiation therapy," Oelfke added.
The ICR’s initial research focus for MRI-guided radiation therapy will be on pelvic malignancies, where the excellent soft tissue contrast of MR images directly before or during treatment will substantially enhance treatment options and quality, he adds.
The ICR is the sixth member to join the research consortium that assesses the novel technology, which brings together state-of-the-art radiation therapy and MRI in a single system.
The consortium also includes the University Medical Center Utrecht (Utrecht, the Netherlands), The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (Houston, Texas), The Netherlands Cancer Institute-Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital (Amsterdam, the Netherlands), Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre (Toronto, Ontario) and The Froedtert & Medical College of Wisconsin Cancer Center (Milwaukee, Wisconsin).
Since its launch in 2012, the research consortium has taken several steps toward its goal.
On 5 April, the University Medical Center Utrecht began installing the first generation MRI-guided radiation therapy system for non-clinical testing, which includes the performance evaluation of MRI pulse sequences, testing of different adaptive delivery methods, establishing quality assurance techniques and defining workflow.
Several of the sites are now undertaking treatment planning evaluation using the Monte Carlo based MRI-corrected algorithms in a research version of Elekta’s Monaco treatment planning system.
In addition, a number of the consortium centers have active research programs linked to the MRI-guided radiation therapy system and have submitted abstracts to the American Association of Physicists in Medicine annual meeting (20 July to 24 July 2014, Austin, Texas) where some specific sessions will be covering the latest advances in MRI-guided radiotherapy.