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Sneak preview: Inside the new facility that hopes to revolutionise radiotherapy


Dr Claire Bithell gives an update on the construction of the facility to house the new MR Linac machine, which is due to arrive in the next few months.

Posted on 25 March, 2016 by Dr Claire Bithell

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In a few months, The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and The Royal Marsden will receive a very special delivery.

After much anticipation, our new MR Linac machine will be arriving on site. The machine will be the first of its kind to be installed in the UK, and only the fourth internationally.

The MR Linac will allow clinicians to precisely locate tumours, tailor the shape of X-ray beams in real time and accurately deliver doses of radiation to even moving tumours.

The new machine will allow UK researchers and clinicians here at the ICR and our partner The Royal Marsden to be among the world’s first to offer this pioneering form of radiotherapy to patients.

In recent months there has been a lot of activity on site. The huge bunker that we wrote about in October is now an underground building that links seamlessly to the radiotherapy department at The Royal Marsden.

Now much of the structural work has been completed, attention has turned to the inside of the building and preparations are being made for the arrival of the machine.

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This has been an exciting journey for the engineers, builders, architects, scientists and clinicians who have worked together to make this innovative project possible. Also important is a close working relationship with Elekta, developer of the pioneering radiotherapy system, Philips, the MRI technology provider, and the Medical Research Council, who provided £10 million to fund the project.

The new facility will house not only the MR Linac machine itself but also supporting equipment, patient areas and a small research laboratory.

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The MR Linac will be delivered in stages, and pieces of the machine will be lowered by crane through a skylight in the building. Once all the equipment is on site, it will need assembling, calibrating and testing, and then pilot studies will be carried out.

Radiotherapy already plays an important role in the treatment of about 50% of patients who are cured of cancer, and patients being treated today receive cutting-edge therapy from state-of-the-art equipment. Although the field has already progressed a long way, our researchers and clinicians – with the help of the MR Linac machine – want to see radiotherapy go even further in future.

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  •  Visit our MR Linac page for more information relating to this project


MR Linac
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