MRI-Guided Radiation More Precise


MIAMI. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Doctors say a medical breakthrough in radiation delivery is ensuring they hit their tumor targets. It also means less toxicity to the surrounding healthy tissue. Here are more details on this high-tech tool that is helping doctors battle cancer.

Attorney Ron Lowy was treated for prostate cancer with MRI-guided radiation. It’s the newest radiation delivery technique. He said being inside the bore didn’t bother him at all.

“When they would put me in the machine, it was so comfortable, I would fall asleep every time and they’d wake me up at the end of the session, an hour later,” detailed Lowy.

“The images are spectacular,” described Alan Pollack, MD, a radiation oncologist at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.

While the 59-year-old napped inside the machine, Dr. Pollack and his colleagues used real-time MRI images to deliver the treatment precisely to the tumor.

“We’re able to more directly visualize a tumor and make sure we don’t miss it and to minimize the normal tissue that’s being treated,” Dr. Pollack told Ivanhoe.

Lowy needs a liver transplant. But he couldn’t get one until his cancer was treated because anti-organ rejection drugs make cancer grow. After five MRI-guided radiation treatments, Lowy got good news.

“I’m cancer-free,” said Lowy.

Now Lowy says his future looks bright.

“It means there’s nothing holding me up from getting a liver transplant and I’m excited about moving to the next step,” Lowy told Ivanhoe.

Dr. Pollack said the new MRI-guided radiation treatment is more expensive than conventional radiation, but he expects the cost to come down eventually. This system only exists in a handful of hospitals around the country right now.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Robbi Peele, Field Producer; Milvionne Chery, Assistant Producer; Tony D’Astoli, Editor; Andrew Smith, Videographer.




TOPIC:           MRI-Guided Radiation More Precise

REPORT:       MB #4152

BACKGROUND: The MRIdian system by View Ray is a medical instrument that integrates full time MR imaging, radiation therapy delivery, and intelligent software automation. With the use of the MRIdian system, clinicians can see soft tissue, visualize and adjust the dose, all in real time, without exposing the patient to the additional radiation which can be common with other imaging systems. At the heart of the MRIdian system is a custom designed MRI unit used to capture soft-tissue images in a matter of seconds. When it comes to imaging soft issues in the body, MRIs are often the preferred method because they provides high-contrast images without exposing the patient to unnecessary radiation.


MRI scanners image the non-bony parts of the body, specifically the soft tissues. These differ from CT scans in the sense that they don’t use the radiation of x-rays. Parts of the body such as the brain, spinal cord, nerves, muscles, ligaments, and tendons are usually seen more clearly through MRIs than with regular x-rays or CT scans. For this reason as well, MRIs are more commonly used when needed to image knee and shoulder injuries. As for the brain, an MRI is used to differentiate between white matter and grey matter in order to diagnose aneurysms and tumors. MRIs are usually more expensive than an x-ray or CT scan.



There are certain safety factors that must be taken into consideration before having an MRI.   Certain metallic orthopedic implants may heat during the procedure.  Noise is also a consideration. The sound intensity can go up to 120 decibels in certain MR scanners which means that some patients may require ear protection. Other precautions include nerve stimulation, pregnancy and claustrophobia. Though there have been no devastating effects on the fetus of a pregnant woman, it is recommended that MRI scans be avoided as a precaution especially in the first trimester of the pregnancy. Lastly, people with claustrophobia, may find it really difficult to tolerate being in such a tight space for the duration of the MRI. There are certain methods to help claustrophobics overcome their fear such as familiarization of the machine, visualization techniques, sedation and anesthesia. Other comforting solutions include listening to music, watching a movie, or simply closing your eyes to help ease the discomfort.



 Patrick Bartosch

If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at

Doctor Q and A

Read the entire Doctor Q&A for Alan Pollack, M.D., a radiation oncologist

Read the entire Q&A