Sweden’s first-ever patient to be treated on the groundbreaking Elekta Unity MR-Linac radiation therapy system took place at Uppsala University Hospital yesterday. Elekta Unity gives doctors the “vision” to zero in on tumors and avoid healthy tissues and thereby addresses an unmet need in cancer therapy – it enables clinicians to confidently see and track the target during treatment and respond accordingly, personalizing therapy for each patient every time they are treated. With Elekta Unity, radiation therapy can be more effective, which could mean not only fewer treatment-related side effects but also the potential for fewer treatment sessions and visits to the hospital by the patient.
Zahra Taheri-Kadkhoda, Head of Radiation Treatment at Uppsala University Hospital, said: “An important advantage of radiation therapy guided by MR images is that the treatment becomes more individualized and can be targeted more precisely to the tumors. This can increase the chance of better tumor control and less risk of damage to surrounding healthy tissue, especially for tumor sites which are hard to visualize with non-MR techniques. The MR-Linac is also an inspiring project for broad and open collaborations between different medical disciplines and technical professionals with an ultimate goal to improve patient care.”
Elekta President and CEO, Richard Hausmann, said: “We are very excited that Uppsala University Hospital, as the first clinic in Sweden, has joined the growing number of cancer clinics around the world providing precision radiation medicine to their patients using the most advanced technology. Both Elekta and Uppsala University Hospital are renowned for their innovative approach to providing advanced cancer care. These synergies will benefit many of the more than 60,000 people diagnosed with cancer in Sweden each year.”
To date, there are 18 Elekta Unity systems in operation globally, of which eight are in Europe. The new technology integrates two critical but distinct technologies in a single platform: a state-of-the-art, high field MR imaging system, and a next-generation Elekta (EKTA-B.ST) linear accelerator. Tumors and surrounding organs can be located and their movement accurately tracked at the time of treatment. This allows treatment plans to be adapted while the patient is on the table in response to changes in tumor position, shape, biology and the relationship to sensitive organs over time.
Elekta Unity will be used to treat a wide range of cancers and may enable new therapeutic options for hard-to-treat cancers with anatomies that require crystal-clear imaging to effectively distinguish the tumor from nearby healthy tissues and organs-at-risk. This will allow anatomical structures that previously were determined unsuited for radiotherapy to be considered for treatment.