OTTAWA, ONTARIO -- (Marketwire) -- 05/10/12 -- Kathy Han, Hon. B.Sc. in Immunology, M.D. C.M., and final-year radiation oncology resident at the University of Toronto, is awarded the $75,000 2012 CARO-Elekta Research Fellowship for her proposed study on 'Optimizing MRI-guided brachytherapy in cervical cancer: target delineation, accessibility, and clinical efficacy', to be carried out at Princess Margaret Hospital, Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Toronto.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-guided brachytherapy (internal delivery of radioactive source directly next to cancer tumour) is a high precision technique that allows physicians to individualize each patient's radiation treatment. Dr. Han's research will aid in further defining national and international benchmarks for the clinical use of MRI-guided brachytherapy in treating patients with cervical cancer.
Her hypothesis is that special types of three-dimensional MRI and positron emission tomography (PET) images of the site of the cervical cancer tumour will further improve physicians' ability to differentiate cancerous vs. healthy tissue. Superior visualization of the tumor will allow generation of a more precise radiation plan that will better target the tumour and spare surrounding normal organs. MRI-guided brachytherapy is expected to be more effective and less toxic than two-dimensional X ray-based brachytherapy, and Dr. Han will also update the outcomes of patients with cervix cancer treated with MRI-guided brachytherapy at the Princess Margaret Hospital.
A challenge faced by Canadian radiation oncologists is that MRI-guided brachytherapy is resource-intensive, and currently available at only a few Canadian centres. A recent Canadian Brachytherapy Group survey reported that 80% of respondents agreed that 3D image-guided brachytherapy should become standard of care for treatment of cervical cancer in Canada. Dr. Han also aims to improve accessibility to MRI-guided brachytherapy by exploring alternative ways of performing the procedure, for example by combining Computed Tomography (CT) images (more accessible) with MRI acquired close to the time of brachytherapy.
Canadian Association of Radiation Oncology member and Fellowship committee chair, Dr. George Rodrigues, of London Regional Cancer Program at London Health Sciences Centre, says, "This investment in further specialized training for a promising, young Canadian researcher means that new focused radiation treatment technologies will be tested, ultimately benefiting Canadian patients with cancer."
"As Elekta continues to advance the technological frontiers of cancer management, we always keep in mind that we're a human care company, and that patients, their families and caregivers drive our innovation in radiation oncology," says Gerry Hogue, Senior Vice President & General Manager, Elekta North America. "Supporting research in this field also is consistent with Elekta's mission. Therefore, we are proud to continue funding CARO's radiation oncology research fellowship and to reinforce Canada's long tradition of research excellence in the cause and treatment of cancer."
About the Canadian Association of Radiation Oncology
Canadian Association of Radiation Oncology (CARO) - Association canadienne de radio-oncologie (ACRO) is a not-for-profit association with the mandate to represent and support its membership nationally and internationally, through the promotion of high standards of patient care in the practice of radiation oncology, support of excellence in professional standards, and the promotion of radiation oncology research and education.
CARO is a partner with other disciplines in seeking to improve outcomes for cancer patients, and provides a consultative authority to oncology related agencies, academic institutions, and to the public in all matters pertaining to radiotherapy and oncology in Canada.
For further information: www.caro-acro.ca
Elekta is a human care company pioneering significant innovations and clinical solutions for treating cancer and brain disorders. The company develops advanced tools and treatment planning systems for radiation therapy and radiosurgery, and workflow enhancing software systems across the cancer care spectrum. http://www.elekta.com
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