Leading Research into Head & Neck Cancer

MR Linac - revolutionising radiotherapy

Full project title: MRI-Guided Linear Accelerator-Based Radiotherapy (MR Linac)

Tag: New treatment

<strong>Tag:</strong> New treatment

Oracle is funding the cost of PhD student Jennifer Kieselmann to carry out cutting-edge computational research at the revolutionary MR Linac facility at Sutton’s Royal Marsden Hospital.

The MR Linac is a new machine which many say looks set to revolutionise the way in which we treat cancer.

Specifically, the new £10 million machine combines two advanced technologies: Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), which uses a powerful magnetic field to acquire images of the body’s internal anatomy, and a linear accelerator which converts electrons into x-rays.

The major benefit of the new technology is that, unlike conventional radiotherapy in which a patient’s dose of radiotherapy is calculated in advance of it being given, in the MR Linac, the patient is imaged using MRI at the same time as their radiotherapy treatment is delivered.

Jennifer’s project, funded by Oracle, is looking at designing computer software that will help clinicians to automatically define the boundaries between normal tissues and cancerous tumours on the MRI images.

This can help to improve the accuracy of treatment, ensuring that only cancer cells are targeted, protecting surrounding healthy cells.

This work is being pioneered by Professor Uwe Oelfke.   He is the new head of The Institute of Cancer Research's and the Royal Marsden’s joint department of Physics and is a specialist at targeting radiation at tumours with pinpoint accuracy.

His work in three-dimensional tumour tracking has reached such accuracy that it can even take into account movements of a tumour induced by a patient breathing.

Professor Oelfke explains: “Consequently radiotherapy patients will experience fewer side effects and have a better quality of life.”

MR-Linac – Revolutionising-Radiotherapy

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Professor Uwe Oelfke
Professor Uwe Oelfke

Project type:
PhD research

Project Leader:
Professor Uwe Oelfke

Researcher:
Jennifer Kieselmann

Commencement date:
August 2015

Length of project:
4 years

Funding provided:
£125,603

Funder:
CHK Charities

Location:
MR Linac facility at Sutton’s Royal Marsden Hospital.

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