Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center Becomes First in World to Introduce Newly-Approved Artificial Intelligence Software in Clinical Setting to Streamline Patient Scan Process

Harnessing the Power of AI to Enhance Patient Convenience, Expedite Treatment Initiation, Improve Workflow

BATON ROUGE, La. – Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center has announced implementation of a new, state-of-the-art technology to create synthetic computed tomography (CT) scans from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans using artificial intelligence (AI). The Cancer Center is the first clinical site in the world to use this FDA-approved software, which will further enhance convenience and comfort for patients, streamline scheduling and workflow processes for Cancer Center staff and elevate personalized treatment planning. 

The software, MR-Box by TheraPanacea, takes a patient’s MRI image and creates an AI-generated CT scan that dosimetrists and radiation therapists can use for treatment delivery and radiation plan calculations. According to TheraPanacea, several clinical studies have demonstrated that dosimetric differences between traditional CTs and synthetic CTs created by MR-Box were minimal and clinically insignificant. In short, this technology can reduce treatment wait times while maintaining quality. 


MRI scan (left); synthetic CT scan - using MR Box (right)
MRI scan (left); synthetic CT scan – using MR Box (right)


“It is no secret that across the healthcare industry, providers are learning how to harness the power of AI in a way that will improve patient care without sacrificing accuracy and safety,” said Sotirios Stathakis, PhD, Dr. Charles M. Smith chief of physics, Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center. “This application, which will streamline the scanning process, allowing patients to begin treatment faster, does just that. With incredible technology options available, there is no reason patients should have to encounter burdensome delays to receive a treatment plan. At Mary Bird Perkins, we are using every tool at our disposal to improve patient access and care before, during, and after treatment.”

While MRIs are important for precise imaging purposes, they cannot be used to accurately calculate dose for radiotherapy treatment, thus CT scans are crucial. And while critical, a CT scan can add additional burdens on patients. CTs typically require an additional appointment and patients to be in the exact same position as an MRI, meaning there is little room for deviation between the two images for proper treatment planning. 

The implementation of this technology will benefit patients as well as Cancer Center team members. For patients, undergoing one fewer scan will provide an additional layer of convenience, especially for those who may face transportation issues getting to appointments. Through the use of MR-Box, patients will also be able to begin treatment quicker due to clinicians’ ability to create personalized treatment plans in a shorter timeframe without sacrificing any accuracy. This streamlined process will also help team members who may face an increased workload, to cut down on future scan backlogs and clear up additional calendar space for other patients who also require various scans. 

“The Cancer Center is introducing a level of clinical efficiency that has previously been unavailable, thanks to the power of AI,” said Krystal Kirby, PhD, diagnostic imaging medical physicist, Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center. “Sometimes our imaging machines can be booked for weeks at a time, however, by utilizing synthetic CTs through MR-Box, we are freeing up vital time, a premium in cancer care, to serve even more patients. This tool will help enhance productivity for our renowned and nationally recognized radiation department.”

Currently, MR-Box is FDA-approved to produce scans for multiple cancers affecting the brain, abdomen and pelvis.

To learn more about the Cancer Center’s innovative medical physics program, visit


About Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center
Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center is a regional cancer care organization that has been fighting cancer for more than 50 years. The cancer care organization provides care at 10 centers in Baton Rouge, Covington, Gonzales, Hammond, Houma, Opelousas, Slidell, and Natchez, Mississippi, and its service area encompasses southeast Louisiana and southwest Mississippi regions. Mary Bird Perkins has a strategic affiliation with OneOncology and the largest radiation and medical oncology groups from across the area including exclusive partnerships with Southeastern Louisiana Radiation Oncology Group, which provides radiation therapy throughout Mary Bird Perkins’ service areas, Northshore Oncology Associates, serving St. Tammany and Washington Parishes, specifically the communities of Covington and Slidell and Louisiana Hematology Oncology Associates, which services the Greater Baton Rouge area. For more information, please visit