MR Linac a ‘game changer’ for cancer patients needing radiation treatments

November 19, 2020 Providence Pulse Content Team

Providence Cancer Institute now offers radiation treatments using the latest technology called the MR Linac, which uses MRI-guided radiation that can be modified in real time for pinpoint accuracy. This is the biggest advancement in radiation oncology in 20 years. It means radiation oncologists can provide stronger, shorter, more effective treatments with potentially fewer complications.

TheViewRay MRIdian uses MRI-guided radiation for precise targeting to maximize tumor destruction and to minimize damage to normal tissue. Providence Portland Medical Center, where Providence Cancer Institute is based, is the first facility in the Pacific Northwest, and the first community hospital in the U.S., to offer this technology.

The MR Linac technology allows us to track and monitor changes in real time, even as the tumor shifts when the patient’s internal organs move. This greatly reduces the amount of radiation that could affect healthy tissue and organs. It also means the tumor can be targeted with a stronger dose of radiation, while decreasing negative side effects.

MR Linac is a game changer for patients. We expect that it will become the new standard of care for treating many kinds of cancer with radiation.

A typical radiation treatment plan for a patient with prostate cancer, for example, usually spans seven or eight weeks. But with the MR Linac’s precision, the treatment can be as short as one week.

Providence currently uses the MR Linac to treat tumors of the abdomen, such as pancreatic and liver cancer, and pelvis, such as prostate and rectal cancer.  We recently began using it to treat breast cancer. In the next few months, we’ll add different cancer types for treatment, such as lung cancers.

The $8 million ViewRay MRIdian was made possible through a generous $5 million donation by the late Elsie Franz Finley. The Portland businesswoman and philanthropist gave more than $60 million to Providence Foundations over her lifetime, with much of it benefitting cancer research, technology and nursing education.

To learn more

Article authored by: 
Steven Seung, M.D., Ph.D., FACR, medical director, Providence Radiation Oncology and Gamma Knife Center of Oregon; physician, The Oregon Clinic

About the Author

The Pulse content team focuses on bringing you the latest in clinical news from our world-class medical providers and physician leaders.

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