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Varian and Imris ink deal for MR-guided radiation therapy

by Brendon Nafziger, DOTmed News Associate Editor | October 05, 2010
Varian Medical Systems Inc. said Tuesday that it inked a deal with Imris Inc. to develop an MR-guided radiation therapy device.

The device would use Varian's TrueBeam system, launched in April, guided by MRI scanner technology developed by Imris, the companies said.

The aim of the collaboration is to use MRI's soft tissue imaging ability to more precisely target cancers during treatment, according to Palo Alto, Calif.-based Varian.

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"Many studies have shown that increased treatment accuracy can reduce the impact on healthy tissues around a targeted tumor," Varian's oncology systems business president Dow Wilson said, in prepared remarks.

The MR system would move in and out of the treatment room, coming to the patient, rather than requiring the patient to be shifted to the imaging room, as happens now, the companies said.

Imris said it began work on an MR-guided radiation therapy system almost two years ago, in collaboration with University Health Network in Toronto. Last year, the company said it installed a 3T MR suite in Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto. The hospital will help provide clinical guidance and testing for the device, Imris said.

The Winnipeg, Canada-based company specializes in developing interventional MR suites for neurosurgery and cardiovascular care.

The MR-guided system would likely be offered in multi-room configurations while including independent MR-simulation capabilities, Imris said.

Imris' stock rose nearly 5.9 percent, closing at $5.24 a share Tuesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Varian rose 2 percent to close at $61.78 on the New York Stock Exchange.