At Miami Cancer Institute, part of Baptist Health South Florida, a Miami woman is now the first pancreas cancer patient in the world to be treated using an advanced platform for adaptive MR-guided radiotherapy.
MR (magnetic resonance) imaging is increasingly being used to guide radiation therapy, especially for inoperable or difficult-to-reach tumors, according to Kathryn Mittauer, Ph.D., the lead physicist for the MR-guided radiation therapy program at Miami Cancer Institute.
“The ViewRay MRIdian Linac system uniquely shows the patient’s internal anatomy throughout treatment using real-time continuous MR scans and automatically pauses treatment if the tumor moves out of the correct position,” explains Dr. Mittauer. These advanced MR capabilities, which are not offered by other radiation delivery machines, can improve the ability to eradicate tumors and decrease the risk of side effects. “Miami Cancer Institute has been one of the international pioneers treating with the MRIdian Linac since 2018,” she adds.
Today, ViewRay’s MRIdian A3i upgrade gives the MRIdian system a suite of new and enhanced features that provides even greater precision and control. Miami Cancer Institute recently became the first in the world to use MRIdian A3i for adaptive radiation therapy, an advanced technique by which the delivered radiation is modified each day to ensure that high doses are precisely delivered only to the tumor, even if there are significant changes in the patient’s internal anatomy. “We expect that the MRIdian A3i system will reduce treatment times for some patients by up to 40 to 50 percent, resulting in a remarkably better patient experience,” shared Dr. Mittauer.
Michael Chuong, M.D., who is the lead physician for the MR-guided radiation program and the Medical Director for Miami Cancer Institute’s Department of Radiation Oncology, has been instrumental in helping ViewRay perfect the technology and train other radiation oncologists in its use. He calls the recently released MRIdian A3i “a transformational improvement to an already amazing technology.”
Treatment with the MRIdian Linac is uniquely interactive for patients who, while lying in the machine, are able to view their scan in progress through a special mirror. The tumor’s outline can be seen by the patient on a screen as a green circle, which moves in real-time during respiration. When the patient breathes in such a way that the green circle overlaps a stationary purple circle defining the target treatment area, the treatment starts and a yellow happy face appears indicating the patient should hold their breath at that exact position. This ensures that treatment is delivered to the tumor only and not nearby organs.
“By helping the patient control their breathing and guide their own treatment, this visual feedback makes it easier to deliver radiation and helps reduce overall treatment time,” Dr. Chuong says. “For the patient, that means less time having to lie perfectly still inside the MRI, which for some people can be difficult or stressful.”
Dr. Chuong says Miami Cancer Institute and specifically its MRIdian program is one of the most experienced in the world in treating patients with MR-guided radiotherapy.
“We’re one of the highest-volume cancer centers in the world to be using this highly advanced technology,” he says. Patients from across the United States and beyond routinely travel to Miami Cancer Institute to be treated with the MRIdian Linac, especially because of the Institute’s renowned expertise with the technology.
For more information on the MRIdian® A3i System, visit our Baptist Health Resource Blog article.
B-roll and images can be found here.
About Miami Cancer Institute
Miami Cancer Institute brings to South Florida access to personalized clinical treatments and comprehensive support services delivered with unparalleled compassion. No other cancer program in the region has the combination of cancer-fighting expertise and advanced technology—including the first proton therapy center in South Florida, Latin America and the Caribbean, and one of the only radiation oncology programs in the world with each of the newest radiation therapies in one place—to diagnose and deliver precise cancer treatments that achieve the best outcomes and improve the lives of cancer patients. The Institute offers an impressive roster of established community oncologists and renowned experts, clinical researchers and genomic scientists recruited from the nation’s top cancer centers. Selected as Florida’s only member of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer (MSK) Alliance, Miami Cancer Institute is part of a meaningful clinical collaboration that affords patients in South Florida access to innovative treatments and ensures that the standards of care developed by their multidisciplinary disease management teams match those at MSK.
Miami Cancer Institute is part of Baptist Health South Florida, the largest healthcare organization in the region, with 12 hospitals, more than 24,000 employees, 4,000 physicians and 100 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties. Baptist Health has internationally renowned centers of excellence in cancer, cardiovascular care, orthopedics and sports medicine, and neurosciences. In addition, it includes Baptist Health Medical Group; Baptist Health Quality Network; and Baptist Health Care On Demand, a virtual health platform. A not-for-profit organization supported by philanthropy and committed to its faith-based charitable mission of medical excellence, Baptist Health has been recognized by Fortune as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in America and by Ethisphere as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies.