Yesterday I welcomed the Mayor of London to the Royal Marsden Hospital in Sutton to unveil the UK’s first MR Linac machine.

The Royal Marsden in Sutton, together with The Institute of Cancer Research, was chosen to be the first location in the UK to host this state-of-the-art radiotherapy machine – one of only 7 centres in the world, thanks for a £10 million grant from the Medical Research Council.

The MR Linac combines two technologies – an MR scanner and linear accelerator – to precisely locate tumours, tailor the shape of X-ray beams in real time and accurately deliver doses of radiation to moving tumours.

The location of tumours and organs within the body changes from day to day or even constantly. For example, a tumour in the lung will move up and down as a person breathes, and a tumour in the prostate might move from day to day depending on what the person has eaten and how full their bowel is. Constant monitoring of the patient during treatment will enable the most precise targeting of the tumour and help avoid healthy tissue. This is key to refining radiotherapy for the future and is what the MR Linac promises.

Thanks to the Royal Marsden Hospital and The Institute of Cancer Research, Sutton is on the map as a world leader in fighting cancer. This is very exciting news for Sutton and I know my colleagues in Government are very supportive of the work being done here.

I want to congratulate the Royal Marsden on being chosen and to thank the Mayor of London for joining me to celebrate this exciting event.