things you need to know for October 2021
Our curated news-feed from partners and the media with a feature length update from Medical Physics for World Benefit this month. Also news on a Flash RT proton planning collaboration between Mevion Medical and Raysearch and an update on the progress of both Elekta and Viewray MR Linacs.
Medical Physics for World Benefit is a non-profit, volunteer organization registered as a charitable association in both Canada and the United States since 2016. MPWB’s vision is a world with access to effective and safe applications of physics and technology in medicine. This includes all areas of medical physics, although much of MPWB’s efforts to date have been devoted to radiation therapy projects. Its mission is to support activities which will yield effective and safe use of physics and technologies in medicine through advising, training, demonstrating and/or participating in medical physics-related activities, especially with partners in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs).
MPWB -as a membership-driven organization with the formal application process having opened in June 2017. Membership has grown from about 230 members globally in 2019 to just under 600 presently. This membership growth has enabled the organization to broaden its programs with time.
Some major projects in the last two years reflect MPWB’s efforts. Members have been actively engaged in the Open Syllabus project, preparing a web based open environment to facilitate global access to radiation oncology Medical Physicist residency training content. Work on this important project to date has enabled the migration of 80% of IAEA content to on-line learning tools. A preliminary website is expected to start beta-testing in early 2022.
With the onset of COVID-19, MPWB initiated a webinar series to enable world leading medical physicists to share their expertise. Two early webinars provided guidance on the response to COVID-19 from clinical physicists who had experienced its full impact and effects and had established clinical guidelines at the very start of the pandemic. The next two webinars discussed the potential for artificial intelligence to assist in clinical service. Our latest webinar was on cost effective globally deployable radiation therapy. These seminars can be accessed from the MPWB YouTube channel.
In another major outreach this past summer MPWB was able to support 36 medical physicists from LMICs to attend at no cost the virtual annual meeting of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine. The award recipients were evaluated through several criteria including: location with respect to the World Bank’s list of LMIC countries, their stage in the career, a show of need, with applicants describing how knowledge would impact their clinical practice, and MPWB Membership (preferred but not exclusive). The sponsorship program was made possible by essential support from industry partners IBA Dosimetry, Elekta, and Siemens Healthineers, as well as our own membership support.
The next program MPWB is focussing on is the development of a medical physics mentorship program. Initial work focussed on developing an international survey to assess whether the medical physics community considers virtual mentoring to be of benefit to the community, especially for under-resourced environments. All working medical physicists (clinical, academic, industrial, or governmental) and trainees (graduate students or residents) from both high-income and lower-income countries are invited to participate. The link to the survey is at: https://uwo.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_dgtHBEO2gPi2aS9
The question has been asked as to why MPWB does not function under the auspices of one of the major medical physics organizations such as the International Organization of Medical Physics (IOMP), etc. The answer is that these larger organizations have multiple priorities that go well beyond providing grass-roots support to individuals, to clinics or to singular educational institutions in LMICs. They have a much broader mandate and more complex administrative structures that potentially limit work on very specific projects. MPWB can partner more directly and nimbly with various global and regional parties who are trying to advance medical physics in their local setting. Nonetheless, MPWB regularly reaches out to other major organizations in the work to advance medical physics practice worldwide.
As our work develops, our efforts will benefit from an increased engagement from the medical physics community. If you are a medical physicist and care about global health and access to quality health care, consider joining us.
Find out more about MPWB here: https://www.mpwb.org/
RaySearch and Mevion to develop next-generation treatment planning techniques for FLASH proton radiotherapy treatment
RaySearch Laboratories AB and Mevion Medical Systems, two companies that are leading the field of proton therapy, announce a collaboration to develop advanced treatment planning techniques for FLASH delivery with the MEVION S250i Proton Therapy System.
The collaboration will explore FLASH intensity modulated proton therapy (IMPT) delivery using a technique that supports the delivery of large-volume clinical FLASH fields through the combination of smaller fields, each delivered at FLASH dose rates which complements Mevion’s advanced HYPERSCAN delivery system.
Since 2014, RaySearch and Mevion have collaborated to provide advanced treatment planning capabilities for Mevion’s HYPERSCAN pencil-beam scanning and Adaptive Aperture pMLC.
Magnetic Appeal: Changing Treatment Paradigms with MR-Guided Radiation Therapy – Radiation oncologists are putting their MR-guided Linacs to the test for a variety of disease indications. A review of the progress by Elekta and Viewray.
With an armamentarium of nearly every state-of-the-art radiation therapy technology under one roof, Baptist Health’s Miami Cancer Institute was one of the first sites to implement an MR-guided linac in April 2018. Michael Chuong, MD, medical director of the Proton Therapy Center, physician director of the MRI-Guided Radiation Therapy Program, and director of Radiation Oncology Clinical Research, was one of the first physicians to treat patients using the new technology.
“The ability to visualize the internal anatomy of patients, not just prior to, but also continuously during treatment, and perform on-table adaptive replanning as needed, is really unique among our other advanced radiation therapy technologies,” says Dr. Chuong. “We’ve tried to push the envelope to benefit patients and that is through significant dose escalation for a large percentage of our patients.”
MR-guided radiation therapy (MRgRT), offered through two primary companies – ViewRay (MRIdian) (Figure 1) and Elekta (Elekta Unity) (Figure 2) – allows users to adjust radiation dose in real-time based on live MR images of the tumor and surrounding anatomy. This MR guidance is “a fundamental paradigm shift that will be more broadly adopted in the future,” says Dr. Chuong, “especially as costs and treatment times decrease.”
Webcrawler- October ‘21
Bite-Size world news-items in radiotherapy
Mevion and DYN’R Medical Systems are delighted to announce the launch of the @SdxSystem for the MEVION S250i
Varian Medical Systems to provide radiotherapy facilities in government hospitals in several Indian states
Revolutionary new kit for pancreatic cancer only being used in Southampton
Leo Cancer Care and the Centre Léon Bérard Hospital Join Forces to Evaluate the Benefits of Upright Positioning Within Radiation Oncology
Early experience with MR-guided adaptive radiotherapy using a 1.5 T MR-Linac: First 6 months of operation using adapt to shape workflow
Proton arc therapy, do we need it and can we deliver it?
Heterogeneous anthropomorphic phantoms: reimagining SBRT QA for small lung tumours
Apollo Hospitals launches Varian TrueBeam radiotherapy system to treat cancer in Hyderabad, India.
Gaining MOMENTUM in Optimizing the Clinical Use of Cutting-Edge, Personalized Cancer Treatments
Radiation Therapy Reprograms Heart Cells to Younger State, Repairing Life-Threatening Arrhythmias
C-RAD and Accuray Sign Agreement to Enhance Radixact® System Breast Cancer Treatment Capabilities
Fun Facts- Did you know?
Each year, ASTRO awards up to 45 investigators who submitted an abstract to the Annual Meeting with an achievement award. Winners are chosen by the Annual Meeting Steering Committee based on the abstracts’ peer-reviewed scores.
The 2021 ASTRO annual meeting has just started in Chicago and is a hybrid meeting this year with both face-to-face and online delegates.
Blog: Our selection of leading blogs in our field.
Has the coronavirus pandemic radicalised ESTRO and are they suffering from ‘Long-Covid’ as a result?
I must admit that I was slightly startled and so were many others by two of ESTRO’s ‘landmark’ debates held during the congress this summer. These are the two motion items of note:
‘This house believes that in the next 5 years the current RTT education curriculum will be obsolete’ and to end with a closing debate called ‘X-ray guided adaptive radiotherapy will make MR-Linac obsolete’.
Two very radical and what could be seen as contentious debates that really warranted a better audience than they seemingly achieved but the word ‘obsolete’ is potentially divisive in our small world of radiotherapy and so I wanted to take a closer look as much of the information is freely available on Twitter and the net!
The October blog by Duncan Hynd DCR(t)…A Radiographer’s Life, a 40-year career in Radiotherapy.
A blog in celebration of AHPs day by a new therapeutic radiography student at Sheffield Hallam University, Emily Reed
Where Were You This Time A Year Ago?
What Inspired You to Enter The Profession?
And much more here: https://www.radpro.org.uk/2021/10/15/blog-emily-reed/
And finally – RadPro TV!
Our featured latest video of the month.
Elekta Harmony – increased efficiency at every step of the patient journey