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Fox Chase Cancer Center First to Use MRI for Radiation Treatment Planning

PHILADELPHIA (July 2, 2001) -- Fox Chase Cancer Center is first cancer center in the world to utilize the precision of the MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) to help design a more exact radiation treatment plan for cancer. This advance in radiation therapy sets a new standard for the delivery of radiation for treatment.

The use of the MRI specifically enhances the planning involved in 3D Conformal Radiation Therapy (3D CRT) and intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT). These technologies allow physicians and physicists to deliver a custom-shaped volume of radiation for each patient. The treatment volume conforms to the cancer, protecting the area of normal tissue surrounding the tumor. By protecting the surrounding tissue, higher doses of radiation can be delivered for more effective cancer control.

"The recent expansion of our radiation oncology department and the addition of the new MRI propel the Fox Chase radiation oncology department into a league of its own by teaming a superb group of radiation oncologists and physicists with the most advanced equipment available today," said Dr. Gerald Hanks. "This new equipment will improve treatment for many of the most common disease sites including prostate, lung and gastrointestinal cancers by making treatment faster and by delivering it with greater precision. Our investment in technology in the new department reinforces the Fox Chase commitment to reduce the burden of cancer."

Dr. Gerald Hanks, chairman of the Fox Chase Radiation Oncology Department, pioneered the use of CT scanners with 3D CRT in 1989. The use of the MRI instead of CT scanners will further improve accuracy in treatment. Development of the new use for this technology is being developed by Fox Chase radiologist Dr. Gary Freedman and physicist Dr. Dennis Mah. 

"Technology improvements in treatment are critical to progress, and directed at obtaining more cures. The routine availability of the MRI for planning establishes a new benchmark for excellence that directly benefits our patients," Hanks added.

Fox Chase Cancer Center, one of the nation's first comprehensive cancer centers designated by the National Cancer Institute in 1974, conducts basic and clinical research; programs of prevention, detection and treatment of cancer; and community outreach. For more information about Fox Chase activities, visit the Center's web site at

Fox Chase Cancer Center, part of the Temple University Health System, is one of the leading cancer research and treatment centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has received the Magnet recognition for excellence four consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship, and community outreach.  For more information, call 1-888-FOX CHASE or (1-888-369-2427).

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