Challenges of imaging, radiation oncology, and a multidisciplinary organisation

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Published: 28 Oct 2011
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Dr Nuria Jornet - Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, Barcelona, Spain

Dr Nuria Jornet discusses imaging and radiation oncology in relation to initial treatment and evaluation of treatment. In addition, Dr Jornet talks about the upcoming ESTRO 31 in May 2012 in Barcelona and the challenges of creating and maintaining a multidisciplinary organisation.

European Multidisciplinary Cancer Congress (EMCC) 2011, 23-27 September, Stockholm

Challenges of imaging, radiation oncology and a multidisciplinary organisation

Dr Nuria Jornet – Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, Barcelona, Spain

Dr Jonet, welcome to ecancer. You are one of the organisers of the big ESTRO meeting in May next year in Barcelona. It’s going to be a very exciting meeting, there are going to be a whole lot of new topics, tell me about them.

Yes, there will be new topics regarding radiation oncology mainly but for technology also, technological topics, and we are going to put a big effort in topics on imaging for cancer. So this could be really, really interesting for all the cancer community.

And imaging, of course, is much more integrated into your work than it is, say, into mine as a medical oncologist.

Yes, imaging has made a big impact in radiation oncology, mainly for three reasons. For delineation of tumours before being treated; also for looking in the treatment room that what we are irradiating is correct, so we have in-room imaging becoming bigger and bigger, and also for following the patients but following the patients inside the treatment course. What it means, we can do PET to see whether the cancer cells are being killed in a way and we can modify treatment depending on the response to the treatment. So this is very, very exciting and I think it will make a big impact in cancer cure and also in trying to make secondary effects to irradiation less.

And then you have new kinds of sessions that you’re bringing in in the Barcelona meeting?

Yes we have two very different things here. We are going to have a multi-interdisciplinary track which will be very interesting, it’s the first time that ESTRO tries to do it. ESTRO, you know, is an interdisciplinary society so there are four disciplines inside ESTRO: there are radiation oncologists, there are medical physicists, radiation biologists and also the radiation technologists that are the ones that are giving the treatment sessions to the patient. So these four disciplines are members of ESTRO and what we have tried this time is to make an all-day track for the three days and a half that the meeting lasts in which different topics that interest these four disciplines can be discussed together.

That’s challenging.

I think it’s very challenging because usually when you go to another track, imagine I am a medical physicist and then I go to the radiation biologist track, the jargon they use is difficult for me to follow so all these invited speakers that will be giving talks in this interdisciplinary track will be trained or will be taught to use words that all the other members of the other community can understand. So the idea is to build something together, to get the most of this interdisciplinarity, the fact that we are different, so we can work together, put together things and to advance in the treatment, advances in the patient. So I think it’s extremely challenging, we’ll see what happens.

I think that’s terrific. Basically you’re dealing with four different languages, four different lots of jargon and you’re trying to get through the barrier, the sort of thing that does all the time and it’s very important, it really does work when it happens. And then the last thing I was told about yesterday was that you’re really making a big effort to attract young radiation specialists.

Yes, this has been done since, I think, four or five years. We have a young committee so the scientific committee in ESTRO 31 for the meetings is divided into a committee for radiation biologists, physicists, clinicians, a young track and RTTs. So they work on their track, so they propose the topics; this means that these people are working together, looking for topics that can attract other young people is the way to work because obviously if one topic comes up from the young committee it will attract more young people. And then they are tutored by the scientific committee to help them in finding speakers and to a little bit tune what they are doing but it’s their own idea. And then they have this abstract poster, young abstract poster sessions, which are always a success. It’s such a success that this time we will do this idea, we will make this for the not that young scientists. We will go through the same.

I look forward to interviewing you in Barcelona in May next year, ESTRO 31. Thank you very much indeed.

Thank you.