Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin recently installed new technology with the goal of improving personalized cancer treatments. The cutting edge technology combines the use of MRI machines with linear accelerator devices and enables physicians to capture diagnostic images while a patient is undergoing radiation therapy.
The MR-linac increases the quality of images taken during therapy and is designed to improve targeting of tumor tissue while reducing exposure of healthy tissue to radiation, according to a news release from Froedtert & MCW Cancer Network.
Moving forward, physicians at the hospital's Clinical Cancer Center will now be able to precisely target a tumor and lock onto it even if it changes shape, location or size throughout a patient's various radiation sessions.
The center is currently overseeing the installation of the MR-linac system, only the second such installation in the U.S. and fifth globally.
Prior to the MR-linac's invention, it was thought to be nearly impossible to combine MRI machines with linear accelerators due to the powerful magnets that would interfere with radiation beams.
In the short term, the Froedtert physicians will focus the machine's usage on pancreatic cancer due to the limited treatment options currently available for attacking that particular form of the disease. Eventually they will begin using it to treat all forms of cancer and are optimistic it will improve their ability to treat and cure at a higher success rate.