by John R. Fischer
, Senior Reporter | October 06, 2021
Siemens Healthineers is creating a global education program with The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center to encourage greater incorporation of quantitative MR in radiation oncology.
Clinicians and administrative groups will be able to take courses that teach them about safely implementing MR in clinical settings to improve patient outcomes. MD Anderson and Siemens are also working to develop standardized MR protocols to improve quantitative response assessment.
Currently restricted for research purposes, quantitative MR provides clinicians with numerical measurements of tumors and disease markers during scans for greater accuracy. These measurements can be reproduced over time across many different patients, scanners and clinics, saving on both time and medical costs. This prevents subjective image analysis found with traditional MR approaches, and receiving contradictory outcomes with different MR machines.
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As a result, Siemens and MD Anderson started an alliance in 2019 to integrate quantitative imaging throughout medical imaging and enhance coordination for consistent imaging across diagnostic imaging and radiation oncology to guide cancer therapy.
"While the potential value of MR in radiation oncology is increasingly realized, the broad clinical adoption and full potential in utilizing MR within radiation oncology for treatment guidance is yet to be realized. This educational program aims to address the educational needs across the entire multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary team to ensure coordinated patient care that is both safe and effective," Dr. Caroline Chung, associate professor of radiation oncology and diagnostic radiology at MD Anderson, told HCB News.
Educational courses will be tailored for specific clinical and administrative audiences and designed to train various levels of expertise. Training for clinical teams will address basic principles of image formation, functional imaging, protocol optimization and MR safety, while administrative professionals will learn how to optimize teams and workflows and about the finances of incorporating MR in radiation oncology.
Remote operations will also be included in training, with Siemens and MD Anderson implementing and expanding remote MR scanning procedures across MD Anderson’s locations in the Greater Houston area. This will allow clinicians to perform more advanced imaging studies with high-quality image acquisition. Remote operations will be run on Siemens’ Virtual Cockpit software, which allows experts to monitor and manage scans at other locations and to intervene when necessary.