Keeping Up with the Hybrid Magnetic Resonance Linear Accelerators: How Do Radiation Therapists Stay Current in the Era of Hybrid Technologies?

CL Eccles, M Campbell

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review


The benefits of integrating magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) into radiotherapy planning have long been extolled, first appearing in the literature as early as 1986. Most often described as a tool to be used when registered to a planning computed tomography to improve target and organ at risk delineation, the use of MRI for on-board image guidance and as a sole imaging modality throughout the entire radiotherapy pathway is quickly becoming a reality for appropriately selected patient populations in academic centres throughout the world. With the commercialization of these integrated magnetic resonance - radiotherapy delivery systems, an MRI-only workflow will prove beneficial, with MRI being used for treatment planning, localization, and on-treatment plan adaptation. Despite these technological advancements, recent surveys indicate uptake of MRI in radiotherapy as a routine practice has proven challenging. Reasons cited for this slow uptake were primarily related to health economics and/or accessibility. Furthermore, these surveys, like much of the academic literature, shy away from focusing on safe, sustainable staffing models enabled by comprehensive and appropriate education and training. In stark contrast to conebeam computed tomography guided therapy, magnetic resonance - radiotherapy systems are currently being operated by teams of physicians, radiographers, and physicists because of the diverse and complex tasks required to deliver treatment. The pace of innovation in RT remains high and unfortunately the window of opportunity to implement appropriate education continues to narrow. It is vital that we establish a framework to future-proof our profession. In the era of magnetic resonance–guided radiotherapy, we have yet to address the question of how to devise a consensus on the requisite knowledge, skills, and competence for radiation therapists and therapy radiographers using and/or operating MRI that provides guidance, without becoming prohibitively costly or time consuming.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-198
JournalJournal of medical imaging and radiation sciences
Issue number2
Early online date4 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Manchester Cancer Research Centre


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