Elekta, the Swedish manufacturer of radiotherapy devices, won FDA clearance for the world’s first high-field MRI/linac system. The Elekta Unity combines a 1.5 Tesla MRI scanner with a linear particle accelerator, a feat that was previously thought impossible. This is because the electrons coming out of an accelerator, being electrons, have a charge, and a strong magnetic field will make the electron beam bend.
Scientists at UMC Utrecht, a major clinical research center in The Netherlands, had some novel ideas and built the first prototype years ago. This convinced Elekta to work with Philips to develop the new commercial high-field MR-linac machine.
The MRI part of the system is a Philips 1.5 Tesla scanner that can produce diagnostic quality images during therapy, allowing clinicians to target tumors with incredible precision and evaluating the treatment as it’s administered.
Lower dosages may also be possible because of the more accurate treatment, while stronger more focused doses can be delivered as well with relative safety.
Here’s a promo video from Elekta about the new Unity MR-linac: