Premier MRI-Guided Radiotherapy Technology Enables Real-Time Tumor Tracking

Radiotherapy is a core element of prostate cancer treatment, yielding cures in men with localized disease. The goal of prostate cancer radiotherapy is to deliver high doses of radiation to the prostate gland while avoiding the surrounding bladder and rectum, thus preventing unwanted urinary and gastrointestinal side effects and preserving patient quality of life.

Radiotherapy guided by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) allows clinicians to visualize a tumor as well as its neighboring organs in order to most accurately deliver treatment to the target region.

Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital (WCM/NYP) are proud to be the first – and only – medical institution in the northeast to offer patients the most premier MRI-guided radiotherapy technology available: the MRIdian Linear Accelerator, by ViewRay. The MRIdian Linac’s unique ability to track a patient’s tumor in real time during treatment makes it by far the most advanced modality of delivering radiation.

Real-time visualization is significant due to the constant flux of internal human anatomy, including changes in respiration, digestion and bladder fill that can influence the position of the prostate within the body. Even a minor shift of the tumor target during treatment can have major implications related to potential side effects of radiation. If the bladder or rectum displace the prostate during treatment, the MRIdian Linac machine will cease delivery of radiation and not resume until the prostate moves back in bounds of the target region. Whereas other modalities track small fiducial markers implanted in the prostate, this machine allows clinicians to see and track the tumor itself.

In addition, WCM/NYP is the only center in the area to offer combined use of MRI-guided radiotherapy with the rectal SpaceOAR, a hydrogel barrier that is temporarily placed between the prostate and rectum to shield the rectum from radiation and further reduce potential side effects.

Watch the video below to learn more about this state-of-the-art technology from WCM/NYP radiation oncologist Dr. Himanshu Nagar.