MRI-guided stereotactic ablative radiotherapy

We are pleased that eligible patients with localised pancreatic cancer who are undergoing care in the NHS can now receive treatment on the MRIdian at GenesisCare in Oxford at no cost to them or the NHS. This has been made possible through charitable funding from the GenesisCare Foundation, Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund and ViewRay, the manufacturers of the MRIdian system. This initiative is also supported by a team of expert clinicians and the University of Oxford.

The GenesisCare Foundation Compassionate Access Programme is open to patients nationwide. If you’re a patient currently undergoing treatment for pancreatic cancer in the NHS then this information is important to you.

Compassionate Access Programme

Download a patient brochure

Our patient brochure contains all of the information you need about this programme, including what is MRIdian treatment, who can access it and how it works.
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What is MRIdian?

GenesisCare has installed the UK’s first MRIdian at our centre in Oxford.  It is a new way of delivering stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR). SABR allows radiation doses that can control tumour growth to be delivered in a much shorter time – just five days – and there is evidence that it may be more effective than chemoradiation in prolonging survival. For these reasons, SABR is an accepted standard of care in many parts of the world. At the current time, it is not provided by the NHS in England.

Tumours in the abdomen are often in close proximity to normal tissues, such as the stomach or small bowel which are at risk of damage from conventional radiotherapy.

The combination of an MRI scanner with a radiotherapy machine, as well as other technical innovations that have been incorporated into MRIdian, offers advantages for the delivery of safe and effective SABR.

Advantages of the MRIdian

See with greater accuracy

The MRI scanner gives the ability to see and target the tumour, while sparing normal tissue, and thereby reducing the chance of side effects

Adapt to changes

Organ position changes between treatment sessions, and MRIdian allows us to alter the way the radiotherapy is given each time for the best possible outcome

Target during treatment

If a tumour temporarily moves out of position – when you breathe, for example – the treatment will automatically pause
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How to apply

Your consultant at your treating NHS hospital will be able to refer you by contacting us for a referral form. Please note that we can only accept referrals from an NHS consultant.

All referrals are reviewed by our specialist team of doctors.

Oxford

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Cambridge

Nottingham

Around 500 patients worldwide with inoperable pancreatic cancer have been treated on the MRIdian system. Several studies have shown that being able to deliver higher doses using the adaptive SABR process has resulted in lower side effects than when radiotherapy is delivered on conventional machines, despite higher radiation doses being given to the tumour. There is also some evidence that high dose SABR, made possible by MRIdian, improves survival. GenesisCare and the University of Oxford have formed a ten-year partnership to develop the evidence base for this innovative radiotherapy technique. We believe that MRI-guided radiotherapy has the potential to improve treatment across a range of tumours, but that the evidence for its use in pancreatic cancer is particularly promising. The COVID-19 pandemic, which has restricted access to surgery and chemotherapy and makes chemoradiation less attractive due to the need to visit the hospital every day for five to six weeks, makes it even more important that all avenues to help people affected by pancreatic cancer are explored.

To receive MRIdian MR-guided SABR treatment there are various criteria you’ll need to meet and your clinician can help you decide if it’s right for you.

  • You must have been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer that is currently medically inoperable, borderline resectable, locally advanced or locally recurrent. You can find more information about pancreatic cancer here.
  • You must be otherwise in reasonable health and able to have an MRI scan.
  • In addition, we’ll need up-to-date scans together with various assessments of your general health and also the health of organs such as your liver.
  • As each treatment can take over an hour, you must be comfortable lying within the MRIdian for that length of time.
  • This treatment isn’t suitable if you’ve had previous radiotherapy to the upper abdomen. It will also not be beneficial if you have been told your cancer is metastatic (it has spread to other parts of your body). Your doctor will be able to explain this and discuss other options available to you.
  • MRIdian treatment for pancreatic cancer is recognised by private medical insurance providers. If you have private medical insurance, we request that you use this to fund your treatment, so that the limited funds available for our programme can be used to help NHS patients.
  • All UK citizens are eligible for the programme, but we regret that foreign nationals who are not eligible for NHS treatment are not eligible for the Compassionate Access Programme.

  1. Referral

Your own NHS clinician will need to complete our referral form.

  1. Decision

Our clinicians will discuss your referral at a team meeting. This team meets twice-weekly and we’ll aim to tell you within 24 hours of the meeting.

  1. Appointment

If you are suitable for this treatment, you’ll be asked to attend an appointment at a GenesisCare centre with one of our specialist teams of doctors. Prior to starting your treatment, you will attend a planning appointment at our GenesisCare centre in Oxford.

Support for the cost of travel or accommodation is available.

Find out more about treatment on MRIdian, including side effects.

  • Provide access to MRI-guided SABR free of cost to patients with medically inoperable, locally advanced, borderline resectable, or locally recurrent pancreatic cancer, particularly where other treatments aren’t available during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Build the evidence base for using MRI-guided SABR in the treatment of pancreatic cancer and to share this knowledge and expertise with the NHS oncology community
  • Support the worldwide research community to find new and better ways to treat pancreatic cancer

The GenesisCare Foundation is an independent health promotion charity born from the philanthropic vision of GenesisCare. Its mission is to seek out and support life-changing improvements in cancer and cardiac care, in order to create profound impact at scale for both individuals and communities. It does so by investing in research that has the power to radically improve patient outcomes and by enabling access to innovative care. Chaired by Dan Collins, Founder and CEO of GenesisCare, the Board which governs the Foundation is comprised of experts in their fields who share a passion.

Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund is the only national charity dedicated exclusively to funding pancreatic cancer research. With this single-minded focus, its mission is to defeat pancreatic cancer by funding and promoting innovative, world-class research into the disease – research that will lead to the development of more effective detection, diagnosis and treatments and improved survival for patients.

ViewRay is re-envisioning radiation therapy to conquer cancer with the MRIdian® MR-Guided Radiation Therapy System. MRIdian allows clinicians to see as they treat, adjusting the beam to allow for movement and anatomical changes. The ability to target the tumour while sparing the healthy tissue brings a new level of control and confidence to stereotactic ablative radiotherapy. In routine clinical use throughout the world, MRIdian is revolutionising radiation oncology and changing the paradigm in patient care.

Oxford University is renowned for research excellence, innovation, and home to some of the most talented people from across the globe. Its work helps the lives of millions, solving real-world problems through a huge network of partnerships and collaborations. The Oxford Institute for Radiation Oncology is one of the world’s leading centres for radiotherapy-related research and has established a 10-year partnership with GenesisCare, which enables the treatment of NHS patients on the ViewRay MRIdian® as a platform for state-of-the-art treatment and research.

Oxford University is world-famous for research excellence, innovation, and home to some of the most talented people from across the globe. Its work helps the lives of millions, solving real-world problems through a huge network of partnerships and collaborations. The Oxford Institute for Radiation Oncology is one of the world’s leading centres for radiotherapy-related research and has established a 10-year partnership with GenesisCare, which enables the treatment of NHS patients on the ViewRay MRIdian® as a platform for state-of-the-art treatment and research thanks to a generous donation from the John Black Charitable Foundation.

 

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