UF Radiation Oncology Unveils New Technology to Tackle Difficult Cancers

UF's Elekta Unity, one of only 42 in clinical use worldwide and the first in the southeastern US, has real-time MRI capabilities, allowing physicians to plan and deliver precise, adaptive treatment. It is particularly critical for patients with tumors in the liver, prostate, gastrointestinal organs and urinary and reproductive tracts.UF Radiation Oncology celebrated the unveiling of its 1.5-Tesla MRI-guided linear accelerator, the Elekta Unity, on July 21. The Unity will welcome its first patients at the end of the month.

“This technology provides more opportunities to improve our use of radiation therapy than we’ve ever had,” said Robert Zlotecki, M.D., Ph.D., professor and vice chair for clinical affairs. “The 1.5-T MR-Linac allows us to visualize changes in the tumor or tumors with each daily treatment precisely delivered. We can probe the biology of cancers as we are treating by using predictive biomarkers of tumor response. Truly translational research can be achieved with this technology.”

The Elekta Unity and the UF Radiation Oncology team: Radiation Therapists Mallory Southwell, Mike Zinck, Amber Roland, Mike Springborn, Stephanie Ecklund, and Amanda Carter.
From left, Radiation Therapists Mallory Southwell, Mike Zinck, Amber Roland, Mike Springborn, Stephanie Ecklund, and Amanda Carter.

“I am thrilled that we will be able to offer this leading-edge technology to our patients and further support the life-changing care our teams in radiation oncology already provide,” said Traci d’Auguste, chief operating officer for UF Health. “We keep advancing our treatments and investing to improve for our patients.”

The device, one of only 42 in clinical use worldwide and the first in the southeastern US, has real-time MRI capabilities, allowing physicians to plan and deliver precise, adaptive treatment. It is particularly critical for patients with tumors in the liver, prostate, gastrointestinal organs and urinary and reproductive tracts.

“We can provide treatment more safely and far more effectively with less risk and less interference to a patient’s quality of life,” Dr. Zlotecki said. “This has an incredible quality of life and economic impact, not just for the patients themselves, but also for our health care system as a whole.”

The Elekta Unity MR-Linac adds to the advanced technology for UF radiation oncology, which includes the Philips Ambition 1.5 Tesla MR scanner and Big Bore CT Simulator.

Read more online at the UF Health website.

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