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The superconductor ASG with HZDR combines magnetic resonance imaging with proton therapy

Genoa, Italy, February 7 / PRNewswire / On our way to live in cancer photography

ASG Superconductors, along with Helmholtz Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR), will build the world’s first prototype to track moving tumors using real-time magnetic resonance imaging (MRT) during proton therapy. Alberta Health Services’ open rotary magnetic resonance imaging machine is combined with a clinical proton beam actively scanned at OncoRay, the Dresden-based National Center for Radiation Research in Oncology. The rotary MRI machine was manufactured by ASG Superconductors using a helium-free superconducting MgB2 magnet based on MROpen Evo technology. Real-time MRI allows synchronization of the proton beam with the movement of the tumor during the delivery of the radiation dose. Until now, this was not possible and thus was a limiting factor for treating moving tumors with this promising cancer therapy.

Proton therapy is an emerging radiation technique for irradiating tumors thus protecting surrounding tissues better than conventional X-ray based radiation due to the limited penetration depth of the protons. However, the efficacy of proton therapy is limited by tumor movements, anatomical changes during treatment, and inaccuracies in the patient’s position.

With the new MRI machine, which can image organs in the chest, abdomen, and pelvis in real time with high contrast, HZDR’s Aswen Hoffmann and his team now want to build a prototype that can be used clinically at some point: “The special thing about the MRI scanner is that it can rotate around the patient in relation to the beam, so that we can examine the effects of biological radiation and dose measurement of the magnetic fields for the MRI both vertically and parallel to the proton beam.”

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ASG Superconductors now produces a custom-designed 0.5 Tesla medium open field MRI machine to meet the needs of real-time MRI-guided radiotherapy from Alberta’s LINAC MR Group of Health Services and MagnetTx Oncology Solutions has been adapted. MagnetTx Oncology Solutions is developing the necessary gantry to rotate an MRI scanner and image processing methods to automatically track a tumor in real time. The design and manufacture of the entire 30-ton machine is currently in full swing. In the summer of 2022, the team plans to install it in an actively-scanned experimental proton ray line that is clinically appropriate at the OncoRay facility.

“It is very exciting for ASG Superconductors to be a part of this project in cooperation with HZDR and MagnetTx”Marco Bellardinelli, director of the MRI unit at ASG Paramed, says, adding: “The use of our MgB2 superconductor technology and MRI as a core component of new and innovative applications such as this one that will ultimately benefit patients and the medical community makes us proud and more confident that we are moving in the right direction.”

“Our partnership with HZDR and ASG has proven to be very positive,” Says Mike Cogswill, MagnetTx President & CEO. “We look forward to continuing to work together to improve the cancer treatment industry.”

“Thanks to this collaboration between HZDR and international industry partners, we have come a big step closer to our goal of creating a major innovation in the field of image-guided, real-time proton therapy.”Hoffman says.

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