Austin Health Olivia Newton-John Cancer, Wellness and Research Centre to acquire first Elekta Unity in Victoria

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The Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Centre, a treatment centre of Austin Health, will acquire an Elekta Unity MR-linac. Elekta Unity combines two technologies – a state-of-the-art 1.5T Philips MRI scanner and a best-in-class 7MV linear accelerator, driven by breakthrough real-time adaptive radiotherapy software. It provides the ability to reshape the dose based on daily changes in shape, size and position of tumour and surrounding healthy anatomy, as visualised with MRI, and then enables accurate dose delivery with real-time visualisation of the tumour.

Unity will transform how clinicians at Austin Health treat cancer by enabling high resolution MR imaging of the patient anatomy while the radiation dose is being delivered. The live images help to keep the radiation directly on the target, even if it’s moving and changing shape, size or location, during the treatment. This solves a longstanding, unmet need as the cancer care team can now clearly see both tumours and surrounding healthy tissue at any time during radiation treatment rather than relying on pre-treatment images.

Current radiation treatments rely on CT imaging to locate tumours. The new MR-linac machine instead uses superior diagnostic quality MRI imaging to target the tumour with greater precision, and in real time. With more detailed imaging, doctors can better target cancers and minimise damage to surrounding tissue, delivering better outcomes for patients.

“Unity will give us extraordinary potential in how we deliver radiotherapy, providing the ability to ‘see what you treat’ during treatment and respond based on what is being seen,” says Associate Professor Farshad Foroudi, Director of Radiation Oncology at Austin Health. “Aiming radiation beams at a moving target presents a real challenge in radiotherapy because clinicians need to hit the tumour and avoid healthy tissues. Unity, for the first time, will allow our cancer care teams to image the tumour in real time during radiation delivery and adapt the treatment as needed to enable truly personalized radiation therapy.”

“Both Austin Health and Elekta pride themselves in always putting patients at the centre of what we do,” says Shaun Seery, Elekta’s Senior Vice President Asia Pacific. “According to the Victorian Cancer Registry more than 33,000 people will be diagnosed with cancer this year. Consequently, having access to Unity is a tremendous leap forward for the members of our community who need cancer treatment.”

The Olivia Newton John Cancer and Wellness Centre at the Austin will become the first radiation oncology service provider to use this new technology in the State of Victoria and offer a public state-wide service to all Victorians for appropriate cancer types. The Elekta Unity system, funded by the Victorian Government, is planned to be delivered in late 2019. Two Versa HD™ linear accelerators (linacs) are also included in the order.

The Olivia Newton John Cancer Centre at Austin Health and Elekta have a long-standing relationship. The hospital has used Elekta technology and software, including linacs, MOSAIQ® oncology information system and Monaco® treatment planning system for over a decade.