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A study in partnership with GenesisCare has found high dose ablative radiotherapy doubles the chance of living at least two years after diagnosis.

Animation of the pancreas highlighted in the body

A study of 148 patients has found that radiotherapy on the pioneering ViewRay MRIdian MR-linac almost doubles the median survival rate of patients with inoperable pancreatic cancer, when compared with historical outcomes from conventional treatment

All patients in the study were treated with stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR) on the MRIdian MR linac. The median survival of patients in the study was 26 months, compared to the 12-15 months typically seen in patients receiving chemotherapy and standard radiation. The two-year survival rate of patients in the study was over 50%, which is more than double the expected two year rate of 20% with existing UK treatment protocols. 

MRIdian allows doctors to see the tumour and surrounding tissues more clearly, adapt to daily changes, and target the radiation more accurately – making it safer to give the higher doses needed to achieve longer survival. The findings are significant because, at diagnosis, only 20% of pancreatic patients are eligible for surgery and the prognosis for inoperable pancreatic cancer patients is especially poor. Often undetected until it has spread elsewhere in the body, pancreatic cancer has the lowest survival rate of all common cancers and is the fifth biggest cancer killer in the UK. MRIdian therefore addresses a significant unmet need.

GenesisCare has been treating patients on the UK’s only MRIdian machines since 2019 – including over 50 NHS patients in a Compassionate Access Programme enabled through a collaboration with the University of Oxford and charitable funding from the GenesisCare Foundation, the UK charity Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund and ViewRay, the manufacturers of the MRIdian system.  NHS England has recently agreed to commission SABR for pancreatic cancer using standard radiotherapy machines, which use CT-guidance to deliver lower radiation doses.

For more information on this technology and the studies into it underway in Oxford, see here.

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