New standards to enable safe, effective treatment of cancer with emerging MR-guided radiotherapy
Cancer, the leading cause of death in Europe after cardiovascular disease, is responsible for roughly one in five deaths. Radiotherapy, which uses beams of ionising radiation to kill cancerous cells, is one of our most important defences against cancer and is used to treat around half of patients in Europe. One emerging technique, magnetic resonance (MR)-guided radiotherapy, provides real-time images of a patient during treatment, and offers more detailed and higher contrast images for the identification of tumours and soft tissues than conventional techniques. This boosts tumour targeting accuracy, reducing side-effects and increasing survival rates. Accurate radiation dose is crucial to the safe and effective treatment of patients, but radiation transport is strongly affected by the magnetic fields used in MR-guided radiotherapy. This project has developed new standards and measurement methods, adapted for MR-guided radiotherapy, to enable medical physicists to develop safe, accurate treatment plans. This metrological framework supports the clinical implementation of MR-guided radiotherapy, accelerating the rollout of this state-of-the-art treatment.