Sean Pollock, PhD student makes the three minute thesis finals
30 August 2014
Sean can talk! Congratulations to PhD student Sean Pollock who made it to the finals of the three-minute thesis competition held on Saturday August 30 during the University's open day. Sean's topic was Breathing Guidance For Cancer Patients: Audiovisual Biofeedback.
The Three Minute Thesis (3MT) is a competition for postgraduate research students to present their research topic to an intelligent, non-specialist audience in an engaging way. Participants had just three minutes to present a compelling presentation on their thesis topic and its significance. It's a great way for students to practice explaining their research to people who are not familiar with the field – skills that will serve them well when applying for funding or engaging media attention.
For more info, visit the Three-minute Thesis Competition website.
NSW Medical Devices Commercialisation Training Program
26 August 2014
Dr Ilana Feain and Professor Paul Keall have been accepted into the NSW Medical Devices Commercialisation Training Program.
The focus will be on the Nano-X and Audiovisual Biofeedback Program, however the general knowledge transfer will be useful in bridging the gap between research and widespread clinical use for all of our programs.
Drs Fiona Hegi and Jeremy Booth win ASTRO Basic Science Abstract Award
PhD Student Dr Fiona Hegi and Dr Jeremy Booth have won a 2014 ASTRO Basic Science Abstract Award. Dr Hegi won for her abstract, Can 4D-CT ventilation imaging replace Technegas V-SPECT for functionally adaptive radiotherapy? First results, and Dr Booth won for First Clinical Implementation Of Electromagnetic Transponder-guided MLC Tracking. The ASTRO Basic Science Abstract Award recognizes up to 10 basic scientists (lead authors) of abstracts selected for presentation at the 2014 Annual Meeting, in the biology or physics categories. Up to five awards are available in each category. See the full list of awards here
Dr Ricky O'Brien receives CDIP and professional staff career development funding
5 August 2014
Late last month Dr Ricky O'Brien was awarded a University of Sydney Commercial Development & Industry Partnerships Grant for Improving 4D Cone Beam Computed Tomography Imaging to advance the 4D CBCT project. Plus, this week Ricky was awarded a University of Sydney professional staff career development fund grant to support trips to the AAPM and NKI (Netherlands Cancer Institute, home of van Herk, Sonke and others). Congratulations to Ricky!
Visiting masters student Svenja Ipsen second in the Young Investigator’s competition at AAPM
22 July 2014
University of Luebeck masters student and Endeavour Award recipient, Svenja Ipsen was awarded second place out of over 300 applications in the Young Investigator’s competition at AAPM today. Svenja excellent presentation titled Radiosurgery Beyond Cancer: Real-time Target Localization and Treatment Planning for Cardiac Radiosurgery under MRI Guidance was one of the conference highlights. Her abstract was also selected as one of four to be given a press release - see the abstract and some media coverage below:
Prof. Paul Keall being interviewed about the project
AAPM Virtual Press Room
Emma Colvill, PhD students awarded highest scoring abstract for EPI2k14
10 June 2014
PhD Student Emma Colvill's abstract titled “Clinical Implementation of MLC Tracking Improves the Agreement Between the Planned and Delivered Doses for Prostate VMAT Treatments” has been awarded a travel grant for the highest scoring abstract submitted to EPI2k14. The EPI organisers in Aarhus, Denmark told Emma that: ‘It is a great pleasure to announce you have been awarded one of the two travel grants for your abstract. The travel grant consists of EUR 1000 + free registration. Since your abstract was the highest scoring it has been selected for oral presentation in the Session “Best abstracts”.’ Emma also received an NTCRU travel grant to attend the EPI meeting.
Enid Eslick, Ph.D., M.Sc. receives her masters degree in Medical Physics
30 May 2014
Dr Enid Eslick graduated with her Masters of Science in Medical Physics today. A great balancing act with study, parenthood (including a baby in the middle), work and running a clinical trial. Enid's thesis is titled "Proposed Design and Shielding Requirements of a Compact and Economical Linear Accelerator Treatment System." She completed her Ph.D. in Biophysics in 2010 at the University of Technology, Sydney. Her research project involved using atomic force microscopy to measure and characterise the physical properties of live cells. She commenced working in the Radiation Physics Laboratory in November 2010. Prior to her PhD she has worked as a junior physicist in the Radiation Oncology Department at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. She is a member of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine.
Dr Fiona Hegi and Dr Jeremy Booth win ASTRO Basic Science Abstract Awards
Dr Fiona Hegi, based at Nepean Hospital and Dr Jeremy Booth at RNSH won the American Society of Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) Basic Science Abstract Award in the Physics category for their abstracts titled, “Can 4D-CT Ventilation Imaging Replace Technegas V-SPECT For Functionally Adaptive Radiotherapy? First Results”]] and [[“First Clinical Implementation of Electromagnetic Transponder-Guided MLC Tracking.” These awards (Dr Yuanyuan Ge, based at USyd, received one in 2012) are a wonderful validation of the importance of the work the Radiation Physics Laboratory and our collaborators are doing internationally and only given to a tiny fraction of the 1000 plus abstracts submitted to ASTRO.
World first trial to improve prostate cancer care
28 November 2013
Researchers and clinicians from the University of Sydney and the Northern Sydney Cancer Centre are leading a world first clinical trial using a tracking system to improve prostate cancer radiotherapy treatment.
The multileaf collimator (MLC) tracking system uses the Calypso system, a GPS-like device to track the position of the prostate to continuously target the tumour with sub-millimetre accuracy as it moves during therapy.
A prostate can move up to 1.5 centimetres during a radiation treatment session and in current practice the tumour is positioned before treatment, but this motion is not monitored or corrected for during treatment.
MLC is a computer-controlled device with numerous narrow slats or leaves that can be moved in and out to create apertures of different sizes. This tool is used to shape and reshape the radiotherapy treatment beam during treatment to match the three-dimensional shape of the area being targeted.
In addition to shaping the treatment beam, the MLC responds to signals from a tiny set of transponders implanted into the prostate to follow the tumour as it moves.
The trial's lead clinician Dr Tom Eade said the use of MLC tracking will potentially improve the accuracy of radiation delivery and reduce the impact on surrounding healthy tissue and sensitive structures such as the rectum and bladder.
"Royal North Shore Hospital has a history of implementing some of the most advanced radiotherapy in Australia and this is reflected in our excellent patient outcomes at the Northern Sydney Cancer Centre," he said.
"But today is the first time we will follow the tumour continuously during treatment. This breakthrough may potentially change the paradigm of prostate cancer treatments, opening the opportunity for patients to have their cancer cured with radiation in just 1-2 weeks of treatment with very low side effects," said Dr Eade.
University of Sydney Medical School's Professor Paul Keall said having a radiation beam continuously target the prostate means that the prostate will receive more than 98 per cent of the radiation dose planned.
"We are recording the estimated treatment improvements with MLC tracking, as well as recording the actual patient outcomes.
"Based on prior data we estimate that tumour dose misses, which can be up to 30 per cent in current practice, can be reduced to below two per cent," Professor Keall said.
The revolutionary use of MLC tracking also has the potential to reduce prostate cancer radiation therapy from an eight week program to just five days, as the greater level of accuracy could make it possible to safely deliver higher doses across fewer treatment sessions.
"This shorter treatment course is better for patients and more cost-efficient," Dr Eade said.
About: Prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in Australia and the third most common cause of cancer death. It is more common in older men, with 85 per cent of cases diagnosed in men over 65 years of age.
The trial is the culmination of a 14-year research project initially started by Professor Keall. It is being supported by Varian Medical Systems to undertake the study at the Northern Sydney Cancer Centre at Royal North Shore Hospital.
Professor Keall said the team hoped the MLC tracking technology could extend to other cancers such as lung, pancreas and liver tumours in the future.
Thirty prostate cancer patients will be the first to benefit from MLC tracking technology during this current clinical trial.
Those interested in participating in the trial can call the Northern Sydney Cancer Centre on 02 9463 1199.
Congratulations to Fiona, Danny, Jin and Emma!
January 4, 2013
The end of 2012 brought with it some great success for the Radiation Physics Lab! Fiona Hegi was one of the successful recipients of the NHMRC Postgraduate Scholarship ($94k), Danny Lee received an APA scholarship offer, Jin-Aun Ng Received a $10k grant for research support for the study “Radiation Beam Gating with Kilovoltage Intrafraction Monitoring for Prostate Radiotherapy: First Clinical Implementation” through the Northern Translational Cancer Research Unit (NTCRU), and Emma Colvill was the recipient of one of the best presenter awards at ‘MedPhys12’, the Student Research Symposium of the ACT/NSW Branch of the ACPSEM. Congratulations to all!