USA — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Philips 510(k) clearance for its AI-powered MRI platform tailored to the treatment of head and neck cancers.

The software enables clinicians to fine-tune radiotherapy planning in soft tissue tumors of the head and neck.

Additionally, the software eliminates the need for multiple imaging exams, including additional CT scans, by deriving CT-like images from a single MRI scan that can be completed in less than three minutes.

The application, dubbed MRCAT (MR for Calculating ATtenuation), allows doctors to skip CT scans and use MRI machines as the primary or only imaging modality for planning radiotherapy in soft tissue tumors of the head and neck.

AI-enabled MRCAT also has applications for the treatment of cancers in the brain, pelvis, and prostate, as it can assist with dose calculations and patient positioning.

Artificial intelligence is making it easier for medical doctors to get accurate information about patients and allows them to gather data in a quicker manner, as well.

This latest clearance was discussed at the 2022 annual meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology, where Philips also shared that they have partnered with MacroMedics—a company that specializes in patient positioning solutions for radiotherapy treatments.

Philips has since announced compatibility of MacroMedics’ latest DSPS (Double Shell Positioning System) Prominent positioning system with Philips MR Head Neck Coil as a result of a recent development partnership.

The thermoplastic Prominent mask system from MacroMedics, which is used to immobilize the patient’s head, neck, and shoulders during scanning and radiation therapy, is now designed to work with Philips’ dedicated MR coil for imaging the head and neck.

This solution combines the superior soft tissue imaging capabilities and the high-resolution image quality of Philips’ head and neck coil with the comfort-enhancing and positional accuracy and stability features of MacroMedics’ mask.

That system is currently awaiting FDA approval and is not yet available for purchase in the United States.

These advancements aim to improve the accuracy of radiotherapy planning and simulation in order to improve patient outcomes, increase patient comfort, and provide the efficiency benefits of an MR-only workflow.

Philips has also entered into strategic partnership with Elekta in precise and individualized oncology care.

Building on their successful collaboration in developing Elekta Unity, the world’s first high-field MR-linac (linear accelerator), the two companies are working together to deliver novel image-guided adaptive, personalized cancer treatment to help improve cancer care.

In separate news, Philips is set to lay off 4,000 workers as the Dutch company seeks to cut costs while dealing with a costly recall of a consumer medical device.

The layoffs will affect about 5% of Philips’ workforce, and the company will incur severance and termination-related costs of about €300 million (US$295 million) in the coming quarters, according to Philips.

The announcement came a week after Roy Jakobs took over as CEO from Frans van Houten, who had held the position for 12 years.

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