Rather than ending up on a dinner plate, this crab is demonstrating an important new piece of medical technology. It’s been put into a machine known as an MR Linac, which uses magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to visualise the inside of a patient’s body (or crab’s body) in real time as well as delivering cancer-killing radiotherapy. This is particularly useful for treating cancers that move within the body, such as lung tumours. It’s also handy for spotting cancers that don’t show up easily with other imaging methods. The image on the left was taken using just the MRI scanner, while the one on the right was receiving radiotherapy at the same time. There’s no difference between them, proving that the radiation beams don’t affect the picture quality. Visualising tumours so clearly means that radiotherapy doses can be targeted more accurately, preventing damage to nearby healthy tissue and reducing side effects.
Written by Kat Arney
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences (the new name for the MRC Clinical Sciences Centre) the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.