Shanghai's first MR-guided radiation treatment equipment put into use

Cai Wenjun
Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center installed Shanghai's first MR-guided radiation treatment technology to kill malignant cells without damaging normal tissues.
Cai Wenjun

Shot by Jiang Xiaowei. Edited by Jiang Xiaowei. Reported by Cai Wenjun. Subtitles by Cai Wenjun.

Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center has installed Shanghai's first MR-guided radiation treatment equipment.

Cancer has emerged as a major health concern for Chinese people. Every year, the country reports more than 4.82 million cancer cases. Radiation therapy, nicknamed the "invisible surgical knife," is one of the mainstays in cancer treatment.

Around 70 percent of patients require radiation treatment. It is no longer a palliative treatment but rather an effective medical approach for eradicating cancerous cells while minimizing damage to normal tissues and assuring patients' life quality to the greatest extent possible," according to Dr Zhang Zhen, director of the center's radiation oncology department.

Under normal circumstances, doctors should use imaging technology such as CT or MR to establish a precise position on the malignancy and define the targets for radiation to properly kill cancerous cells.

"The precise target is critical to the effectiveness and outcome of radiation treatment. Traditionally, doctors used two separate systems for imaging diagnosis and radiation treatment. So doctors can only use radiation by following the target determined during the scan and cannot perform real-time checks on cancer and normal tissues during therapy," Zhang explained.

"The advanced equipment combining machines doing both imaging and radiation together allows doctors to observe cancer and its nearby tissues during radiation and act on the target more precisely while reducing the negative impact on healthy tissues."

To date, we have used the equipment to treat tumors of the head, breast, liver, pancreas, stomach, colon, and rectum. In the future, it will be expanded to include more types of cancer," Zhang said.

The hospital has also conducted clinical studies on immunotherapy with MR-guided radiation and chemotherapy for patients with rectal cancer.

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