Jan Lagendijk is emeritus professor in radiation oncology physics at the UMC Utrecht. His research focus is the application of MRI in radiotherapy. MRI is used for all aspects of radiotherapy. With MRI it is possible to find and characterize tumours. Jan Lagendijk invented the MRI linac system to visualize the tumour and its surrounding tissues, in real time, at the moment of treatment. This to guide and optimize treatment and to prevent that normal tissues are being irradiated. This MR-linac system is now being commercialized as the Elekta Unity system.
Jan Lagendijk also uses MRI for response assessment, to quantify the impact of treatments. His motto is ‘Seeing what you treat directly results in treatment optimization’. The technology, he develops, must create the next generation radiotherapy standard. His present project is the development of an MRI/PET radiotherapy simulator. This simulator must, together with the Unity system create the treatment pipeline MRI/PET -> Unity for the treatment of polymetastatic disease.