Researchers in Edmonton are getting $6 million to develop and market a new device that could improve how radiation therapy is delivered to cancer tumours.

The University of Alberta, the Cross Cancer Institute and industry are all involved in the development of the technology known as Magnetic Resonance Real-time Guided Radiation Therapy.

Dr. Gino Fallone invented the machine which combines two existing devices, the magnetic resonance scanner (MRI) and a linear accelerator (LINAC). The images it delivers helps target tumours more accurately during radiation therapy.

"Other scientists in the world, because we're the first in the world, have called this a revolutionary way of treating cancer by radiation," Fallone said.

The federal government is contributing $2.5 million towards the initiative. Funding is coming from other sources as well: $250,000 from the Alberta government, $2.15 million from the Alberta Cancer Foundation, and $1.1 million from Alberta Health Services, ASG Superconductors and Paramed.


The technology was invented by medical physicist Dr. Gino Fallone. (CBC)

"We are taking this technology a significant step closer to market where it can benefit thousands of cancer patients across Canada and around the world," Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq told an Edmonton news conference on Wednesday.

The move would also generate new economic opportunities and jobs, Aglukkaq said.

Alberta Health Minister Gene Zwozdesky told the news conference that the device has great potential.

"First of all you can pinpoint exactly the tumour itself much more sharply than any technology currently allows; secondly it also expands the range of tumours that can be treated," Zwozdesky said.

The federal money will help purchase an MRI scanner that will be adapted for creating a prototype.

Money will also be spent on engineering, constuction and labour costs incurred in building the device inside the Cross Cancer Institute.