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      Advanced cancer treatment by MGH

      Marquette General Hospital has installed a new machine to treat cancer. The True Beam Linear Accelerator allows radiotherapy treatments to be faster, safer, and more efficient. It's good news for cancer patients across the U.P. In an open house, Marquette General Hospital showcased its newest and greatest weapon in the fight against cancer. The new True Beam Linear Accelerator is now the highlight of the oncology department. It is one of the most advanced tools in radiotherapy in the world.

      "It allows us to treat our patients in less than four minutes in very sophisticated cancers, which could be lung cancers, brain tumors; anything that can be treated, we can treat here in Marquette," said MGH Chief Medical Physicist, Dr. Kenneth Chu.

      The linear accelerator, or lin-ac, treats the patient's cancer with a high dose of radiation aimed directly at the tumor. It's extremely precise electronic systems make sure that the tumor is the only thing receiving the high dose of radiation. Once treatment begins, doctors observe and control the device from outside.

      "It will save lives. It will treat patients in a more efficient way in terms of not damaging the tissues that are around the tumors that are possibly being damaged by other equipment," said Gary Muller, CEO at Marquette General.

      A higher dose in a shorter amount of time is more effective and will allow more patients to be treated. The nine-ton linear accelerator is one of only two in Michigan and one of 156 worldwide.

      MGH raised six million dollars through the Marquette General Foundation. Cliffs Natural Resources was the biggest single donor, but more than half was donated by the community. It took only a couple of years to raise the money for the multi-million dollar linear accelerator, and installation couldn't have gone smoother. The whole project was completed ahead of schedule and under budget. It has been in use for more than a month now and has yielded excellent results for patients.

      "What they're saying, quite honestly, is that they're so glad they can have this kind of treatment close to home," Muller added.