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MRI-guided radiation therapy accelerates the fight against cancer in Montpellier

Information updated on 24/07/19

On June 14, the Montpellier Cancer Institute inaugurated one of the first MRI-guided radiation therapy machines in France. This innovative technology improves cancer treatment and boosts research in an area already known for its excellence in the field.

Radiothérapie par IRM©ICM
Photo caption:
On June 14, the Montpellier Cancer Institute (ICM) inaugurated one of the first MRI-guided radiation therapy machines in France. From left to right: Prof. Michel Mondain (dean of the faculty of medicine); Prof. David Azria (scientific director at ICM); Chantal Lévy-Rameau (Montpellier Méditerranée Métropole advisor); Thomas Le Ludec (general manager of Montpellier CHU); Prof. Marc Ychou (general manager of ICM); Pierre Pouëssel (Hérault Prefect); Carole Delga (president of the Occitanie region); Kléber Mesquida (president of the Hérault department); Jean-François Eliaou (Hérault representative). Photo: MRI-guided radiation therapy ©ICM.

“It’s the epigraph of radiation therapy through high-precision imaging,” proudly announced Prof. David Azria, scientific director at the Montpellier Cancer Institute (ICM) on June 14 at the inauguration of MRIdian® Linac by ViewRay, an innovative MRI guidance system for radiation therapy that will be launched in September 2019. This new system can be used to treat tumors without touching healthy tissue, which is a critical factor in personalized cancer treatment, particularly liver and pancreas cancer.
The project was included under the name SUNFAIR in the Montpellier France Health Hub/Metropolitan Innovation Pact signed by the French government and Montpellier Méditerranée Métropole. “That contract was both an accelerator and a catalyzing factor,” highlights Prof. Marc Ychou, general manager of ICM.

“Montpellier is the only metropolis in France that oriented its Pact to focus on health,” reminds Chantal Lévy-Rameau, Montpellier Méditerranée Métropole advisor providing support for this excellence sector and its cutting-edge research center, over 200 companies, and 7,500 jobs. “This represents a powerful lever for economic development. One quarter of all the startups incubated at Montpellier BIC are in the health sector,” adds Chantal Lévy-Rameau.

Targeting an innovative artificial intelligence program, Suni-ART

MRI-guided radiation therapy represents an investment of €8.9 million, co-funded by the French government and Montpellier Méditerranée Métropole, with support from the Occitanie Region, Hérault Department Council, and ICM. This approach paves the way for several major national clinical research projects driven by ICM with the Paoli Calmettes Institute (Marseille), Georges-François Leclerc Center (Dijon), and internationally with University of Heidelberg and VU Medical Center (Amsterdam). ICM also plans to develop an innovative artificial intelligence program for radiation therapy called Suni-ART, as part of a large international hospital and university consortium that includes startup companies, notably from Montpellier. With these projects, ICM confirms its innovation momentum and leading position in oncology radiation therapy both in France and internationally.
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