Supporting innovations in combined imaging and radiation cancer treatment by standardising dose measurements
Magnetic Resonance (MR) guided radiotherapy, that incorporates medical imaging and radiation therapy in one machine, is an example of impressive European therapeutic innovation. European manufacturers were first to gain clinical approval for machines integrating MR imaging and x-rays for very precise tumour targeting in 2016, and by 2019 the clinical market was worth € 800M annually. The technologies for combining imaging with proton beam therapy are being developed, showing potential for delivering fewer adverse side-effects and more effective treatments. However, these devices are not yet ready for use in hospitals as dose measurement and calibration issues remain unresolved due to interactions between protons and magnetic fields. Access to both types of treatments for the 1.4 million European cancer patients a year that might benefit is also limited by lack of traceable standards and codes of practice for ensuring safety and efficacy.
The project will develop traceable measurements of radiation dose produced by both x-ray and proton-based therapies in the presence of strong magnetic fields. The methods, technologies, and guidance produced during the project will be promoted to standards bodies and end-users, such as hospitals and manufacturers. Outcomes of the project are designed to enable harmonised and effective approaches to treatment, new measurement services and accelerated product innovation. For many cancer patients, this could lead to improved survival rates and better quality of life.