Toronto's Sunnybrook begins Elekta MR-linac installation

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Elekta UnityElekta and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre have initiated installation of Elekta’s MR-linac, an investigational magnetic resonance radiation therapy (MR/RT) system at the Odette Cancer Centre, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto.

“This new equipment will allow us to better understand tumor response during treatment and give us a way of looking at the tumor that was not possible before,” said Dr. Gregory Czarnota, head of radiation oncology at Odette Cancer Centre.

The MR-linac is the only MR/RT system that integrates a premium (1.5 Tesla) MR scanner with an advanced linear accelerator and intelligent software. It is expected to deliver precisely targeted radiation doses while simultaneously capturing high-quality MR images, which will allow clinicians to visualize tumors at any time and adapt the treatment accordingly. 

“Real-time understanding of tumor response will help us adjust treatment, focus radiation on tumors with pinpoint precision, and spare healthy tissue from radiation,” said Dr. Arjun Sahgal, head of Odette’s Cancer Ablation Therapy Program. “We are proud of all the work that has taken place to bring this technology to Sunnybrook.”

Sunnybrook is a member of Elekta’s MR-linac Consortium, a global collaboration of institutions focused on uniting leaders in radiation oncology, MR-imaging, physics and radiotherapists. The mission of the Consortium is to investigate how MR-linac technology can lead to improved patient outcomes for existing radiation therapy indications and extend radiation therapy for additional indications.

Elekta introduced the MR-linac technology under the name of Unity during the ESTRO congress in Vienna, Austria in April this year.

Installation of Elekta’s MR-linac is complete at the six other consortium member sites including: University Medical Center Utrecht, the Netherlands; The Netherlands Cancer Institute-Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital, Amsterdam, the Netherlands; The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas; the Institute of Cancer Research, working with its clinical partner The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, London, England; the Froedtert & Medical College of Wisconsin Clinical Cancer Center at Froedtert Hospital, Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester, UK.

Sunnybrook is the lead consortium site for developing applications of the MR-linac in the treatment of glioblastoma, the most common malignant brain tumor in adults. Dr. Sahgal and his team have developed a protocol to evaluate advanced imaging for primary cancers of the brain and have designed a clinical trial that will explore using the technology to adapt the radiation dose delivered to primary brain tumors on a daily basis. Sunnybrook anticipates that it will initiate patient treatments once the device is Health Canada approved.

“Sunnybrook is a leading innovator of advanced radiation therapies, and its support and commitment have been instrumental to our ongoing efforts to realize the potential of magnetic resonance radiation therapy,” said Kevin Brown, Elekta’s Global Vice President of Scientific Research. “Initiating installation of the MR-linac system at Odette Cancer Centre, the final consortium site to come on line, is an important milestone in the development of this transformative technology. We look forward to the contributions that Sunnybrook will make to advance the care of patients with glioblastoma.”

Elekta Unity is the only MR/RT system that integrates a premium quality (1.5 Tesla) MR scanner, from MR technology partner Philips, with an advanced linear accelerator and intelligently designed software. To learn more, visit

Elekta Unity is a work in progress and not available for sale or distribution. 

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Toronto's Sunnybrook begins Elekta MR-linac installation.  Appl Rad Oncol. 

By News Release| July 13, 2017
Categories:  Section|Technologies

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