Hi-tech radiotherapy system comes first to The Royal Marsden

23 October 2014

The Royal Marsden and The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) will become the first institutions in the UK to own one of the world’s most advanced radiotherapy machines, thanks to the award of a £9.6 million grant.

Professor Christopher Nutting
Professor Christopher Nutting

Once fully developed for the clinic, the MR Linac system, which combines an MRI scanner and a linear accelerator, will enable more accurate targeting of tumours before and during treatment – particularly of those that move, such as prostate, lung and breast cancers.

This will allow doctors to increase the radiation dose delivered directly to a tumour, and reduce side effects by delivering a lower dose to surrounding tissue.

The grant will fund the purchase of the MR Linac system and its installation in a new facility at The Royal Marsden, enabling our researchers and clinicians to be among the world’s first to offer this pioneering form of radiotherapy to patients.

Scientists at the ICR will develop the technology during pre-clinical research, and clinicians at both organisations aim to begin treating the first patients in around three years – initially through clinical trials at the MR Linac facility.

The grant was announced by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne as part of an investment in UK science of more than £230 million by the Medical Research Council.

Professor Christopher Nutting, Consultant Clinical Oncologist at The Royal Marsden and Joint Head of the Division of Imaging and Radiotherapy at the ICR, said: “It’s hugely exciting to be at the forefront of research into new approaches to radiotherapy, with the potential to directly benefit patients at our hospital and across the NHS.”