A revolutionary technology that combines radiation with the visual power of an MRI changes everything we know about radiotherapy: the duration of the treatment decreases, the tumours become visible and better targeted, the side effects diminish, and hard-to-reach cancers become accessible to radiotherapy
Today, modern medicine is inconceivable without technology, and early diagnoses and device-guided therapies increase the chances of successful cancer treatment, even in advanced form. One of the latest technologies that have revolutionized the treatment of malignant tumours is magnetic resonance-directed radiotherapy. This is a radiation therapy machine that also incorporates MRI technology. With this technology, a radiation oncologist can treat patients like a surgeon, because this device enables the physician to see a tumour precisely, even in soft tissues.
“The new technology, which combines magnetic resonance in the linear accelerator, allows us to visualize the tumour very well during treatment and treat it more accurately in comparison with conventional radiotherapy. This technology allows us to approach tumours that could not be treated by radiation therapy, such as those located in the pancreas. With older technologies, we could not deliver an optimal amount of radiation to the pancreas due to surrounding tissues or organs. But with this technology, we can apply higher doses due to more accurate monitoring of the treated area”, says Prof. Enis Ozyar, M.D., the chief of Acibadem Mehmet Ali Aydınlar University, School of Medicine, Department of Radiation Oncology.
Radiotherapy is an important component of cancer treatment, and its role is to destroy malignant tumours by radiation. One of the main challenges of radiotherapy specialists is to apply the radiation beam as accurately as possible in order to protect healthy tissues and vital organs near malignant tumours. And magnetic resonance-guided radiotherapy (MR Linac) can do this. The technology was used for the first time in the United States in 2015. Now there are only 20 such devices in the world with the help of which specialists customize each treatment session. Acibadem Maslak is the ninth MR Linac centre in the world.
“Until magnetic resonance-guided radiotherapy, we used the initial treatment plan for each radiotherapy session. But we know that in the abdomen or chest, tumours and internal organs move, change their position, which makes radiotherapy extremely difficult. Now, with the magnetic resonance incorporated in the accelerator, we get a precise image of the tumour every time. If the critical tissue structures have changed their position, we adjust the treatment plan and apply the treatment according to the new positions. Thus, we personalize according to the data obtained in each treatment session. We’re talking about adaptive radiotherapy, it’s a very new algorithm”, the ACIBADEM radiotherapy expert adds.