Elekta Unity introduced transformative magnetic resonance radiation therapy at ESTRO

Through intelligent and pioneering design, Elekta Unity (MR-linac) combines the best of both worlds to create a new paradigm for cancer care and provide extraordinary potential for ‘hard to treat’ cancers.

At the 36th ESTRO (European Society for Radiotherapy & Oncology) meeting, Elekta (EKTA-B.ST) introduced Elekta Unity, the only magnetic resonance radiation therapy (MR/RT) system that integrates a premium diagnostic quality (1.5 Tesla) MRI scanner with an advanced linear accelerator and intelligent software.

Elekta Unity is expected to deliver precisely-targeted radiation doses while simultaneously capturing the highest-quality MR images, which will allow clinicians to visualize tumors at any time and adapt the treatment accordingly. Members of the Elekta MR-linac Consortium will be at ESTRO 36 to discuss expected clinical applications for the system.

In addition to enabling greater precision in radiation therapy dosing, Elekta Unity will feature several new patient-centric attributes designed to enhance patient comfort during treatment. These features include a compact, wide bore (70cm) MRI, soft tabletop, non-glare room lighting and a table that has a low load height to facilitate ease of patient entry and exit.

Elekta Unity is expected to transform the treatment of cancer in several critical ways:

  • Real-time imaging, conducted during each treatment session, allows adaptation of treatment based on the size, shape and location of tumors and nearby healthy tissue.
  • Daily imaging could reduce uncertainties about tumor location, allowing dosing to a smaller volume and sparing healthy tissue from radiation, which has the potential to improve efficacy and reduce toxicity.
  • Improved differentiation between tissue types should improve the use of radiation therapy in treating soft tissue. The challenge of treating these tumors is the difficulty differentiating tumors from nearby healthy tissues and organs.
  • Functional MR imaging, which provides information on cellular activity within a tumor, could potentially detect whether a tumor, or a portion of a tumor, is responding to therapy at the earliest stages of treatment. A recognized response or lack thereof allows clinicians to modify treatment plans as needed.
  • Additionally, researchers hypothesize that Elekta Unity has the potential to support the use of higher doses administered over fewer sessions, enabling shorter and more effective courses of treatment.

“We started the development of an integrated MR-linac system 18 years ago; the presentation of the clinical system is a huge milestone,” says Jan Lagendijk, PhD, Professor and Head Radiation Oncology, Department of Radiotherapy / Centre for Image Sciences, University Medical Centre Utrecht, and conceptual architect and inventor of the MR-linac system.

This system will enable tumor dose escalation and extreme normal tissue sparing, it will also enable shorter and more effective treatment regimens, while its ability to perform functional imaging has the potential to perform better dose painting and tumor response assessment.”

Jan Lagendijk, PhD

In October 2012, Elekta established a global consortium of partnering institutions to merge precision radiation delivery with MR imaging – from MR technology partner, Philips – in a single system. In addition to assuming responsibility for the core research and development and engineering activities, the consortium has generated the clinical and workflow protocols that will maximize the new system’s therapeutic efficacy and ensure seamless integration into existing radiation oncology department procedures.

“Elekta Unity is a technical tour de force through which we have overcome the longstanding limitations of operating a radiation delivery system within the high magnetic field of a diagnostic-quality MR imaging system,” says Dr. Richard Hausmann, Elekta’s President and CEO. “We are pleased to present Elekta Unity to the global oncology community here at ESTRO 36 and recognize this milestone as a testament to the expertise and perseverance of the members of the MR-linac Consortium. Elekta is grateful to all of our partners for their dedication to improving patient care and steadfast commitment to making Elekta Unity a reality.”

The Elekta Unity is not yet available for general sales in European markets with planned CE Mark for later 2017. Planned commercial availability worldwide to follow the CE Mark issuance.

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