In 2014, The Christie joined a worldwide research consortium with a mission to develop an integrated magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) guided radiotherapy system.

The Elekta Unity MR-linac is the first machine in the world to combine high field-strength MR imaging with a linear accelerator in a single system. Installation of our MR-linac began in 2016 and we are expecting to treat our first patients later in 2019.

This hybrid technology will allow the radiotherapy team to target tumours and monitor their response to radiation with unprecedented precision – even as a tumour moves inside the body because of breathing, bladder filling or bowel changes – thanks to the machine's real-time MRI guidance. Using precise, real-time imaging, treatments may be able to be adapted as often as daily to truly personalise a patient’s treatment.

In order to unlock the true potential of this novel technology, researchers at the Christie (in collaboration with the University of Manchester and other members of the consortium) are undertaking clinical and translational research studies in the prostate, cervical, lung and hepatobiliary-pancreatic cancers. It is anticipated that the MR-linac will eventually be used to treat a wide range of cancers routinely at The Christie.

In the run up to our first MR-linac treatment, we will be publishing some weekly updates so you can follow our progress. Read our MR-linac blog for more information or see what we're up to on The Christie Facebook and Twitter pages.