The final and largest parts of the ONJ Centre’s MRI-Linac machine have arrived.
The 5-tonne magnet and 3.43-meter-wide gantry were lifted into the Centre’s bunker with a 100-tonne crane, a complex operation that required the Austin Hospital’s main entrance and driveway to be closed for a weekend.
The MRI-Linac will now be assembled and tested. Specialised staff will be appointed and trained to operate the machine.
We expect to begin using it to treat patients by early 2021.
Austin Health Divisional Director Cancer and Neuroscience, Cherie Cheshire, said once the MRI-Linac is installed, the ONJ Centre would be the state-wide provider for this type of advanced radiation therapy.
"Traditional radiotherapy treatment uses a Linear Accelerator to kill or damage tumours and stop them growing. Still images of the tumour are taken before treatment and used to help plan and guide the direction of the radiation beam.”
“This machine can display real-time images of internal organs and tissues. The machine can monitor the movement of tumour locations caused by breathing, swallowing, and other normal body movements during treatment.
"Tumours can be treated with greater accuracy and the technology also has the potential to reduce side effects and improve cancer treatment outcomes as a result," says Cherie.
In the following months, the MRI-Linac Austin Health is also preparing for the installation of another machine, an MRI Simulator which will assist with planning patient treatment and take MRIs of tumours which are sent directly to the MRI-Linac radiation therapy machine.
The MRI-Simulator will be installed in the next few months and is expected to be operational later this year.