News | January 22, 2010

Teaching Program Gives Radiotherapy a Boost in Australasia

January 22, 2010 - The quality of radiotherapy treatment across Australasia just got a boost. A team of radiation oncologists, radiation therapists, and medical physicists have signed a contract with a radiotherapy system manufacturer to provide other radiation oncology departments with training.

The hospital will hold four IGRT courses in 2010, and there are plans to extend this accreditation to other advanced techniques such as intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) and RapidArc in the future.

Led by Associate Professor Michael Back, director of radiation oncology at Royal North Shore Hospital's in Sydney Cancer Centre, the team has been teaching these radiotherapy techniques to clinicians from other hospitals on an unofficial basis since 2007.

"Now that the agreement with Varian Medical Systems has been formalized, the department will be able to provide far more support and instruction to other radiotherapy departments across New South Wales and the rest of Australia,"

With the agreement, the Radiation Oncology Department at Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney has become the first in Australia to be formally accredited by Varian Medical Systems as a teaching facility for image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT).

Prior to the advent of IGRT, radiation oncologists had to contend with variations in patient positioning and with respiratory motion by treating a larger margin of healthy tissue around the tumor. IGRT enables doctors to further minimize the volume of healthy tissue exposed to the treatment beam. Potentially, image data from IGRT tools like Varian's On-Board Imager device will be used to note changes in tumor size and shape over a course of treatment, and make real-time adaptations to the treatment plan.

For more information: www.varian.com and

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