Mary Bird Perkins Tackling Most Difficult To Treat Cancers With New Radiation Technology

New $10 million-plus Elekta Unity MR-LINAC and adaptive radiation therapy program only available at Mary Bird Perkins, thanks to community philanthropy and innovative approach to fighting cancer

BATON ROUGE, La. – Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center has announced that it has launched a $10 million-plus adaptive radiation therapy program that utilizes the novel, innovative Elekta Unity treatment system. The Cancer Center is the first and only organization in Louisiana with this level of precision medicine technology.

The Elekta Unity system represents a revolutionary fusion of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), linear accelerator (LINAC) technologies and artificial intelligence that offers unprecedented precision in cancer therapy. Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center’s acquisition of this leading-edge equipment underscores its commitment to providing world-class, patient-focused care and solidifies its position at the forefront of cancer treatment innovation. The Art Favre family, community donors and an investment from the Cancer Center funded the acquisition of the Unity system, which will be used to begin treating patients next week.

Key features of Elekta Unity include: 

  • Real-time Imaging: Elekta Unity integrates high-resolution MR imaging, allowing oncologists to visualize tumors and surrounding healthy tissue in real-time, before and during treatment, and with more clarity than ever before. This level of imaging precision enhances treatment accuracy and reduces the potential impact on surrounding healthy tissue and organs.
  • Adaptive Radiation Delivery: The Elekta Unity’s LINAC technology enables each patient’s treatment plans to be adjusted in response to changes in the patient’s anatomy or tumor size during the course of treatment. This adaptability allows for greater dose optimization, where the physician is able to deliver higher, more targeted amounts of radiation that improve outcomes and shorten treatment times for patients. For example, due to their proximity to the bladder and rectum, prostate tumors are a moving target, so there is a great advantage to mapping its location at the moment of treatment.
  • Reduced Treatment Time: The combination of MR imaging, radiation delivery in a single system streamlines the treatment process, reducing the overall time patients spend in the treatment room. This not only enhances patient comfort but also increases the efficiency of the Cancer Center’s operations.
  • Artificial Intelligence: The Elekta Unity’s ability to adapt during the course of treatments is aided by the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms, accelerating the processing of high-resolution imaging and assisting the treatment team in identifying changes in anatomy or tumor position during the adaptive planning process. The result is the harmonization of the Cancer Center’s deep oncology expertise with state-of-the-art information technology that maximizes the capabilities of the Elekta Unity system.

Kos Kovtun, MD, radiation oncologist and medical director of adaptive radiation therapy, Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center, commented on the significance of this milestone: “The Elekta Unity MR-LINAC is a game-changer in cancer care. Its ability to provide real-time imaging and adaptive radiotherapy allows us to tailor treatments with unparalleled precision, ultimately improving outcomes for our patients. We are proud to be the only cancer center in Louisiana offering this advanced technology, and we most certainly could not provide care at this level without our generous donors.”

The addition of Elekta Unity reinforces the Cancer Center’s expert team of physicians and staff and their commitment to advancing cancer care, promoting research, and ensuring that patients have access to the most advanced treatments available.

“My family and I are excited to be a part of this momentous achievement, which marks a new era in the fight against cancer,” said Favre, a past board chair, Mary Bird Perkins. “Having this technology will mean more people can stay closer to home and receive the same level of care as some of the largest cancer centers in the country. This is a major win for Louisiana, and as a close friend of Mary Bird Perkins, I can tell you many more innovative, life-saving treatments and services are on the horizon. This is really just the beginning of the Cancer Center’s progression as the Gulf South’s premier cancer care organization.”


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