Philips, Elekta consortium building MRI/radiation treatment system

Philips Healthcare ($PHG) and Elekta, long development partners, have evolved their expanding relationship into a joint research consortium. Their goal: to create a single, MRI-guided radiation therapy system that blends MRI with precise radiation delivery.

Neither side is disclosing financial terms of this broader relationship between Philips, which is part of the Dutch conglomerate Royal Philips Electronics and Elekta, a Swedish company developing radiation, radiosurgery and brachytherapy treatment devices for patients with cancer and brain disorders.

But their focus is interesting in its drive to build a more versatile MRI/radiation therapy system than either treatment exists now as a separate product. The combined system, both companies hope, will allow for superprecise cancer treatments where doctors obtain extra-detailed soft tissue imaging during radiation therapy and quickly adapt how the treatment is delivered based on the imaging results.

The concept is yet another aspect of personalized medicine. But rather than identifying a drug that works best for a particular patient, this new combo machine Philips, Elekta and academic partners are developing will allow for an ideal radiation treatment for each patient.

Philips has formed at least one other partnership involving its imaging technology. The company will work with InfraReDx to develop an enhanced high-tech catheterization lab.

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