Device that combines MRI and radiation therapy gets OK in Europe

Elekta Unity enables clinicians to closely watch soft-tissue treatment sites during procedures.

A recently approved device from a Swedish company seeks to achieve cancer treatment by using both magnetic resonance imaging and radiation therapy to deliver precise treatment.

Elekta received the CE mark for Unity, which will enable its therapy system to be implemented clinically in Europe. The device has not yet been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for commercial distribution or use in America.

Company executives say the device has the potential to change how clinicians treat cancer by enabling the delivery of the radiation dose while simultaneously visualizing the tumor and surrounding healthy tissue with high-quality magnetic resonance images.

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Elekta’s device uses high-field diagnostic-quality (1.5 Tesla) MRI, linear accelerator technologies and advanced treatment planning to enable clinicians to see and track difficult-to-visualize soft tissue anatomies while radiation dose is being delivered, allowing clinicians to confidently see and track the target during treatment and respond accordingly.

Clinicians can also use the imaging capability of the device to adapt patients’ treatments to current anatomical information, the company contends.

The change that the combination of MRI and radiation treatment will bring in cancer therapy “is paramount in advancing patient treatment,” says Richard Hausmann, Ekekta’s president and CEO.

The device is the result of work by the Elekta MR-linac Consortium, a collaborative industrial-academic partnership that Elekta founded with seven centers and its technology partner, Philips in 2012 to provide an evidence-based introduction of the combination of MRI technology with linear accelerator treatment to precisely treat medical conditions.

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