MR Linac scans first healthy volunteer

The Royal Marsden and the ICR have scanned the first healthy volunteer on the pioneering MR Linac radiotherapy machine, marking another step on its journey to becoming fully operational.

The MR Linac combines an MRI scanner and a linear accelerator to precisely locate tumours, tailor the shape of X-ray beams in real time, and accurately deliver doses of radiotherapy to moving tumours.

Ross Lydall, the Evening Standard’s Health Editor and Chief News Correspondent, was the first volunteer to be scanned as part of the PRIMER study, which is assessing the visibility and value of the MR imagery. Our researchers will use the scans to optimise the quality of the images and determine the best ways of using the imaging capabilities of the MR Linac. This will help us design and plan treatments in the future.

"I’m happy to have helped people with cancer who may need this machine as a part of their treatment in the future."

Ross said: “It was an honour to be the first healthy volunteer, and amazing to be immersed in technology like this and understand how my images will help research. I’m happy to have helped people with cancer who may need this machine as a part of their treatment in the future.”

The MR Linac was funded by a £10-million grant from the Medical Research Council, with additional support from The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity and the ICR.

Physicists at the ICR and The Royal Marsden are developing the clinical protocols as part of an international consortium initiated and co-ordinated by Elekta, which makes the MR Linac, and MR partner Philips.