Improving radiotherapy success

Patient receiving medical scan

Innovative MRI-guided radiotherapy method rolled out for clinical use in EMPIR project - first patients treated in May 2017

Radiotherapy is a powerful tool in modern cancer treatment – around 40 % of people who survive cancer do so because of radiotherapy. MRI-guided radiotherapy can further improve the success of cancer treatments by offering better targeted therapy through real-time imaging. Demonstrating that radiotherapy works in the presence of MRI magnetic fields and the radiation dose delivered to patients can be accurately and consistently determined are essential before it can be introduced into clinics.

The feasibility of calibrating clinical MRI-guided radiotherapy machines was successfully demonstrated in the EMRP project Metrology for next-generation safety standards and equipment in MRI (HLT06 MRI safety). This has been further developed to support clinical implementation in the EMPIR project Metrology for MR guided radiotherapy (15HLT08 MRgRT). Results from the project have demonstrated that MRI-guided radiotherapy can be reliably linked to the traditional radiotherapy beam calibration method based on water calorimetry measurements to which clinics have existing traceability. This essential development has enabled Elekta, a leading European manufacturer of radiotherapy machines and academic hospitals, to rollout innovative MRI-guided radiotherapy for clinical use. The first patients to benefit from this new method were treated in May 2017.

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Figure: a) A calculated back focal plane image with θ=70°, ϕ=345° and z0 = 60nm. b) A measured back focal plane image of an NV-center. From J. Christinck et al., Appl. Phys. B 126, 161 (2020). Copyright PTB, published with kind permission of PTB
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