Patients in the UK now have access to MRIdian, a technology from GenesisCare which combines magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with precise radiotherapy beams.

Globally, the technology has been used to treat 7,000 patients, with the greatest potential benefit being seen in people with prostate, liver, pancreas and lung tumours. UK patients will now be able to access the treatment through GenesisCare’s treatment centre in Oxford.

MRIdian enables clinicians to visualise the exact position and shape of a patient’s tumour in real time while their treatment is being delivered, meaning their cancer can be targeted with greater precision and control than in conventional radiotherapy.

Unlike in standard radiotherapy, where the same treatment plan is used repeatedly, MRIdian allows clinicians to adapt treatment based on changes in tumour size and position, as well as normal day-to-day tissue changes. This can help to reduce the radiotherapy dose to healthy tissues during the treatment and reduce side effects, as well as give a higher dose to certain tumours than was previously possible and potentially improve the chance of tumour eradication.

With traditional therapy, prostate cancer patients typically need around 20 treatments, but with MRIdian may need as few as five.

The increased targetability means that MRIdian can also be used to improve clinical outcomes for cancers in the abdomen, such as inoperable pancreatic and liver tumours previously treatable only with chemotherapy.

GenesisCare clinical director of urological cancers Dr Philip Camilleri said: “Treatment on the MRIdian allows us to be virtually 100% accurate, 100% of the time. I’m delighted that GenesisCare has been able to bring this technology to the UK for the first time as I have seen [the] significant benefits this brings to patients.

“This treatment allows us to adapt the radiation field to the daily changes in anatomy of the target and the surrounding areas, ensuring that treatment on the MRIdian is as accurate and effective as possible each and every day.”

GenesisCare is partnering with the University of Oxford to conduct clinical trials, in part through Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.