Swedish global human care company Elekta and Holland’s Royal Philips Electronics have announced that The Netherlands Cancer Institute-Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital (NKI-AVL) has signed an agreement to join a research group working to advance development of cutting-edge image-guided treatment technology for cancer care. The research consortium already includes leading radiation oncology centers and clinicians at Holland’s University Medical Center Utrecht and Houston’s University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center who are seeking to merge radiation therapy and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technologies into a single system.
Project spokespersons explain in a release that uniting state-of-the-art MRI with a state-of-the-art radiation therapy system to create an MRI-guided radiation therapy system will provide physicians with exceptional images of a patient’s soft tissues and any tumors during radiation therapy. This breakthrough innovation also aims to permit clinicians to adapt treatment delivery in real time to provide the most precise cancer treatments possible.
“MRI has steadily revolutionized healthcare since its introduction nearly three decades ago, giving clinicians unparalleled views of soft tissues and pathology. Merging this diagnostic capability with the capacity to also treat disease in the same frame of reference could dramatically improve cancer management,” says Elekta President and CEO Tomas Puusepp in the joint release. “The other consortium members at Elekta, Philips, University Medical Center Utrecht and MD Anderson are delighted that NKI-AVL – an internationally renowned medical center – has joined us in this important effort.”
Prof. Marcel Verheij, Head of the Radiotherapy Division at NKI-AVL, comments: “MRI-guided radiotherapy allows optimal imaging and will therefore improve the accuracy of our treatment delivery. Building on our experience with Cone Beam CT-guidance we are highly motivated to collaborate within the research consortium and contribute to the implementation of MRI-guided adaptive radiotherapy.”
“This research exemplifies the essential role that imaging plays in the development of more targeted treatments for cancer,” says Philips Healthcare Imaging Systems CEO Gene Saragnese. ”The Netherlands Cancer Institute-Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital has played a crucial role in the software development for CT-guided radiation therapy a decade ago, and this expertise complements the skills that we already possess in this research consortium.”
Prior to establishment of the research consortium, Elekta, Philips and the University Medical Center Utrecht built and tested a prototype system that integrates a linear accelerator and a 1.5 Tesla MRI system. The success of these efforts enabled the project to move to the next phase of development and testing by the growing select group of consortium partners.
Radiation therapy and medical imaging already play an essential role in treatment planning, delivery and after care, and are proven, cost-effective and safe methods for the treatment of individuals with cancer. Radiotherapy is a critical modality for cancer treatment, either as a frontline treatment or used with other modalities, such as chemotherapy. The procedure involves identifying cancerous tissue and irradiating it with high-energy radiation beams in a way that maximizes sparing of healthy tissues near the tumor.
The integrated MRI-guided radiation therapy system is in development and not available for sale.
The Netherlands Cancer Institute was established on October 10, 1913. The founders, Rotgans, professor of Surgery, De Bussy, publisher, and De Vries, professor of Pathology, wanted to create a cancer institute ‘where patients suffering from malignant growths could be treated adequately and where cancer and related diseases could be studied’. They bought a house on one of the canals in Amsterdam and named it the ‘Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Huis’, after the famous Dutch microscopist. The clinic had room for 17 patients, while the laboratory could accommodate 8 to 10 scientists.
Nowadays, The Netherlands Cancer Institute-Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital (NKI-AVL) accommodates approximately 550 scientists and scientific support personnel, 53 medical specialists, 180 beds, an out-patient clinic that receives 183,000 patients each year, 5 operating theaters, and 9 irradiation units. It is the only dedicated cancer center in The Netherlands and maintains an important role as a national and international center of scientific and clinical expertise, development and training.
The three major areas of research are fundamental, clinical and translational cancer research. A thorough understanding of the biological processes of normal cells is the basis for understanding cancerous cells. The laboratory covers all major areas of cancer research, with special emphasis on cell-based screens, mouse tumor models, cell biology, structural biology and epidemiology. From its first inception the NKI-AVL saw close collaboration between scientists and clinicians as essential to fighting cancer. Having a laboratory and hospital under one roof in a single independent organization with an open and collaborative atmosphere has led to many important discoveries and improved therapies.
Elekta is a global human care company pioneering significant innovations and clinical solutions for treating cancer and brain disorders, and providing access to all relevant information for media professionals. With approximately 3,300 employees, Elekta’s corporate headquarters are located in Stockholm, Sweden and the company is listed on the Nordic Stock Exchange under the ticker EKTAb.
Royal Philips Electronics is a diversified health and well-being company, focused on improving people’s lives through meaningful innovation in the areas of Healthcare, Consumer Lifestyle and Lighting. Headquartered in the Netherlands, Philips Healthcare employs approximately 37,400 people worldwide, with sales and services in more than 100 countries. The company is a leader in cardiac care, acute care and home healthcare, energy efficient lighting solutions and new lighting applications, as well as male shaving and grooming, home and portable entertainment and oral healthcare.
The mission of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center is to eliminate cancer in Texas, the nation, and the world through outstanding programs that integrate patient care, research and prevention, and through education for undergraduate and graduate students, trainees, professionals, employees and the public. MD Anderson provides clinical cancer care at locations in the greater Houston area. Services at regional care centers vary and include radiation treatment, medical oncology and surgical oncology, along with a range of supportive services. In an effort to reduce wait times at diagnostic imaging facilities at the Texas Medical Center and Regional Care Center locations, MD Anderson is opening community-based imaging clinics throughout the Houston area. Certain MD Anderson patients can use these convenient locations for CT and MRI procedures.