New technology offers hope

Game changer: Professors Paul Keall and Michael Barton with the linear accelerator component of the new MRI-Linac at the Ingham Institute. Picture: Jeff de Pasquale

Game changer: Professors Paul Keall and Michael Barton with the linear accelerator component of the new MRI-Linac at the Ingham Institute. Picture: Jeff de Pasquale

LIVERPOOL Hospital is about to become home to a world-class $16 million research program that will change the way cancer patients are treated.

A new MRA-Linac machine, which combines an MRI scanner with a linear accelerator, is expected to improve the precision and accuracy of radiotherapy treatment.

At an event on Monday, the Ingham Institute gave residents a sneak peak of the first components of the MRI-Linac in its purpose-built research bunker at the hospital.

Ingham Institute research director Michael Barton, OAM, said about half of all cancers required radiation treatment.

"We use that treatment to cure cancers, to stop them from coming back and sometimes to relieve symptoms," Professor Barton said.

"With this particular machine we will not just have better targeting, but for the first time we will be able to see what the cancers are doing and how they are responding to treatment.

"We will not just be able to monitor the treatment as it is going on, but we will also be able to change the treatment if an area is being more active."

The director of the Ingham Institute MRI-Linac team, Paul Keall, said construction of the machine would be completed in December.

"We have the linear accelerator component of the MRI-Linac and this creates high energy X-rays which produces the radiation." he said.

"What will come in over the next couple of months is the MRI scanner, which will allow us to image the cancer.

"The MRI-Linac will integrate the imaging so we can treat the cancer as the patient is breathing and as the cancer moves."

Professor Keall said the machine would be one of only three in the world and the institute would continue its research with the long-term goal of treating patients.

To see how the MRI-Linac will work visit: youtube.com/inghaminstitute.

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