Trials underway for new Linac-MR radiation therapy tech

Alberta Health Services has announced that cancer patients will now be treated with new technology from the world’s most advanced radiation therapy in the treatment of tumors. Grants and funding for the project came in at an estimated $25-30 million dollars.

Funding was provided by Alberta Cancer Foundation and through the Canadian Cancer Institute ‘We Cross Cancer’ fundraising campaign, Alberta Innovates, Western Economic Diversification (Canada), now called PrairiesCan, and Canadian Institutes of Health Research, as well as direct and in-kind investments by Cancer Care Alberta.

The Alberta-created and built Linac-MR machine will begin with clinical trials at the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton. The LMR allows radiation oncologists to deliver more precise radiation to tumours that move during treatment, or to tumours that are close to healthy organs that need to be avoided. This more precise radiation can result in better tumour control and fewer side effects from radiation.

“Can we do this? Because if we do this we have significant improvement in cure rates, less side effects and less treatment types. What else do you want? Right now, in Alberta, 50 per cent of all cancers get radiation, there’s a treatment. Other places in Europe, they may do even more radiation. 60-70 per cent of them. At this moment, it’s about 50 per cent. This machine now, because of its ability to take care of motion, especially in the abdominal area, liver, pancreas, kidney, lung. Now, you could treat the other 50 per cent for all cancer tumours,” says Dr. Gino Fallone, Professor and Director, Medical Physics at the Canadian Cancer Institute.

“Cancer directly or indirectly touches the lives of almost every Albertan. Ensuring patients and families have access to outstanding cancer care is a priority for our government. We are proud to have technology in our province built by those on our frontline,” says Jason Copping, Minister of Health.

According to a 2022 report by the Canadian Cancer Society, the number of people living with cancer in our country has grown to over 1.5 million.

Micah Quinn

After graduating from Mount Royal University in Calgary with a Broadcasting Diploma, Micah made the trek down to Lethbridge to work for Bridge City News. He has previously worked at City TV Calgary on the Breakfast Television morning show. He looks forward to connecting with this community, and reaching a new audience. Micah has a passion for interviewing and finding out why people think the way they do. You’ll often find him pursuing local feature stories and hard news.

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