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ENGINEERING INSTALLATION


Complex MR unit installation at Queensland hospital


Mark Fasiolo, RPEQ, CPEng, MIEAust, NER, THHS Infrastructure & Operations engineer at Townsville University Hospital in Queensland, Australia, describes the installation of a new MR-linac machine at the facility which, at the time, was the first of its kind in the southern hemisphere, and one of a few installed worldwide. The project involved retrofitting the new machine into an existing concrete bunker within a large operational cancer centre.


The Townsville Hospital and Health Service (THHS) recently completed the installation of a new state-of-the-art Elekta Unity MR-LINAC machine at Townsville University Hospital (TUH). The Elekta Unity is the newest member of the fleet of linear accelerators used for radiation therapy cancer treatment. The A$ 10 million project involved retrofitting this revolutionary new machine into an existing concrete bunker within a large and operational cancer centre. At the time, the TUH Elekta Unity was the first of its kind in the southern hemisphere, and one of a few installed worldwide. This article will review the project from a healthcare engineering perspective, focusing on key design and construction management outcomes.


What is the Elekta Unity? The Elekta Unity is a magnetic resonance radiation therapy (MR/RT) system that redefines cancer treatment by enabling personalised precision radiation therapy through real-time, high-resolution visualisation of the tumour during treatment. The system combines two different healthcare technologies – a high- field 1.5 Tesla Philips MRI scanner, and a 7 MV Elekta linear accelerator – together with a breakthrough online dose re- planning software. The 1.5T MRI enables pre-treatment visualisation of patient anatomy with superior soft tissue contrast and high anatomical detail. The online dose re-planning software provides the ability to reshape the treatment dose in


This article, entitled ‘Townsville University Hospital – Magnetic Resonance Radiation Therapy Installation’, first appeared in the December 2020 issue of Healthcare Facilities, the magazine of the Institute of Healthcare Engineering, Australia (IHEA). HEJ would like to thank the author, the IHEA, and the magazine’s publisher, Adbourne Publishing, for allowing its reproduction here.


Figure 2: Real-time MR imagery obtained from the Unity. Inset: Component assembly. February 2021 Health Estate Journal 29


Figure 1: The new Elekta Unity MR/RT system.


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