STOCKHOLM and AMSTERDAM, Oct. 25, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Elekta AB (NSE: EKTAb) and Royal Philips Electronics (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA) today announced that they will expand a joint program to develop a breakthrough in cancer care with an imaging-treatment platform that merges radiation therapy and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology in a single treatment system. The program for development will include a research consortium of leading radiation oncology centers and clinicians, which today includes the University Medical Center Utrecht ( the Netherlands). The establishment of the consortium marks the next step in the collaboration between Elekta, a pioneer in neurosurgery and radiation therapy systems and Philips, a leader in medical imaging systems. The consortium's mission will be to merge precision radiation delivery with MRI in a single MRI-guided radiation therapy system*. This will enable doctors to achieve exceptional soft tissue imaging during radiation therapy and to adapt treatment delivery in real-time for extremely precise cancer treatments. "Bringing the superior soft tissue imaging of MRI and precise radiotherapy together in one device could potentially revolutionize cancer care," says Tomas Puusepp, President and CEO of Elekta AB. "The need to maximize therapeutic radiation on the target, while minimizing the exposure of healthy tissue is entirely driven by the best interests of the patient – they deserve the best chance for a cure and an improved quality of life. Elekta and Philips are leaders in the global healthcare community with a complete spectrum of expertise to fulfill this vision." "Cancer is a major global disease that we hope to control with more targeted treatments," says Gene Saragnese, CEO Imaging Systems at Philips Healthcare. "MRI is emerging in oncology applications because of its excellent real-time 3D visualization of soft tissue. Together with our partners, all leaders in radiation therapy delivery, we are convinced that the integrated MRI-guided radiation therapy system has the potential to become a game changer in cancer care on a global scale." Working with University Medical Center Utrecht, the medical device companies have built and tested a prototype system that integrates a linear accelerator and a 1.5 Tesla MRI system. The success of early tests has enabled the project to move to the next phase of development and testing by a select group of consortium partners.