Patient getting scanned by the MR Linac

MR Linac - the latest in radiotherapy treatment

The MR Linac is the first technology in the world to offer the ability for doctors to view MRI images and deliver X-ray radiation beams simultaneously — allowing radiotherapy to be adjusted in real time and delivered more accurately and effectively than ever before.

Dr Alison Tree

A Royal Marsden prostate cancer patient became the first in the UK to receive treatment using the groundbreaking new radiotherapy technology, the MR Linac in September.

We were the third cancer centre in the world to treat a patient with the pioneering machine and the first few days of the patient’s 20 day treatment cycle was reported on the BBC and in the national newspapers.

The MR Linac, funded by a £10m grant from the Medical Research Council and supported by The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, simultaneously generates magnetic resonance images and delivers X-rays — allowing radiotherapy to be adjusted in real time helping to minimise damage to healthy tissue.

A team from The Royal Marsden and the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) have been working for years to bring this technology to clinical use and believe the ability to target tumours with radiation beams in real time will be particularly effective for cancers that change position by breathing, bladder filling or bowel changes and reduce the side-effects for the patient. For example tumours in the prostate, lung, bladder and bowel can be targeted in real time thereby allowing the radiation beams to be adjusted with enhanced precision.

The MR Linac is a dream come true. If you were going to design radiotherapy from scratch, this is how you would do it. To be able to see the patient’s anatomy before you treat, to be able to change where you put the dose and treat with such accuracy is incredible.

Dr Alison Tree

First patient treated with the MR Linac