2016 update from RBWH Nuclear Medicine

The Department of Nuclear Medicine, RBWH, has approval, and is in the planning stage, for an expansion of our TGA licensed Radiopharmaceutical laboratory that supplies PET tracers to a number of PET facilities in Queensland. This expansion includes a new Clean Room for sterile manufacture, additional hot cells and synthesis modules.

In 2016 we added 68Ga-Dotatate and 68Ga-PSMA-HBED to FDG to the compounds we distribute to other hospitals, as well as supporting a substantial increase of the in-house demand. A number of new tracers also came online for clinical and research use, including 18F-GE-180 (neuroinflammation), 18F-GE216 (Alzheimer’s disease), nucleophilic 18F-DOPA, 68Ga-pentixafor (overexpression of CXCR4 receptors).

Our State-wide 177Lu-TATE therapy service expanded by 50%, increasing the availability of radionuclide therapy to patients suffering neuroendocrine tumours. This coupled with production of 177Lu-PSMA617 for prostate therapy should lead to a very exciting 2017.

Our Research Radiochemist, Melissa Latter (pictured), won a very prestigious Churchill Fellowship. She will be visiting overseas centres to gather expertise which will allow us to establish a premier manufacturing and training site for translational radiopharmaceutical science. We also have 4 staff starting on their TEAP journey; Soren Lummis and Dominique Scott in Radiopharmaceutical Science and Orrie Dancewicz and Shaun Patford in the DIMP program.

2016 update from PAH Radiation Oncology

PAH physicists have had a busy year with the installation, commissioning and first treatment of a patient utilising the 6X FFF modality. We have also seen the introduction of the Octavius 4D paired with the SRS 1000 array which has significantly improved out stereotactic QA efficiency from the days of film and the StarCheck array which is improving beam QA efficiency.

The year also saw the commissioning of the Monaco TPS along with the 266th GammaKnife patient, treating a total of 501 brain mets. The department has been strongly involved in continued professional development attending conferences such as EPSM, where 4 orals and 9 posters were presented, and looks forward to the growth of our research culture in the years to come.

Patrick O’Connor and Venkata Seshadri achieved certification, and the department has recently welcomed Trang Pham to the team.

2016 update from Mater Center

The Radiation Oncology Mater Centre (ROMC) has had an eventful year commissioning new hardware and bringing online new treatments. A new system for tracking the tumour position in real-time with RF beacons called Calypso was commissioned for the use in delivering VMAT treatments including hypofractionated prostate treatments. Further, VMAT for nearly all treatment areas is currently being used, with the final sites being developed in early 2017. Deep Inspiration breath hold treatments are also now available using the RPM system as well as SABR treatments for lung lesions. Further a new Xstrahl skin unit was brought online in the first half of 2016. The use of 3D printing in the department has also increased with a range of phantoms and jigs being constructed and used for Quality Assurance and research purposes.

Congratulations go to Lucy Sim for completing TEAP, and to Danielle Tyrrell for her new position with ROC.

2016 update from ROC Queensland

Radiation Oncology Centres (ROC) is a private radiation therapy company that prides itself on delivering exceptional patient care and developing its people. In 2016 ROC’s first Varian TrueBeam was installed at North Lakes and a second TrueBeam was installed at Redlands in November 2016 (and should be clinical early 2017). These sites are in addition to the existing clinical departments: Toowoomba (celebrating 10 yrs in May, 2017), Cairns, Gold Coast, Springfield, Maroochydore, Bundaberg and Harvey Bay.

ROC-QLD currently utilises both Varian and Elekta linear accelerators, the Eclipse, Pinnacle, Monaco and Xio treatment planning systems and ARIA and Mosaiq clinical information systems. Practices at each of the centres have been aligned wherever possible, to ensure staff are able to provide support across sites. Current clinical techniques include IMRT, VMAT, stereotactic treatments (intra-cranial and extra-cranial) and deep-inspiration breath hold (DIBH) for breast patients.

In addition to the new sites the following new physicists have been welcomed to the team in the last 12 months: Trent Aland (Deputy Director Medical Physics, North Lakes), Bess Sutherland (Medical Physicist, Gold Coast) and Danielle Tyrrell (Site Senior Medical Physicist, Greenslopes/Redlands). January 2017 will see Adrian Bailey (Site Senior Medical Physicist, Maroochydore/Bundaberg/Harvey Bay) and Susan Barr (TEAP, North Lakes) also join us.

TEAP milestones for 2016 include:

  • Dean Wallace and Talia Jarema sitting and passing their Written exams in March,
  • Talia Jarema and Jonathan Lambert sitting and passing their final Part A and B practical and oral exams in November, and
  • ROC now being accredited to have 3 TEAP positions across the organisation.

2016 update from Genesis Queensland

This year GCCQ welcomed a new centre in the locality of Rockhampton. The centre is partnered with Queensland Health and is located in the new Cancer Services Building in Rockhampton Base Hospital.  The centre is the first Elekta based clinic in Queensland for Genesis Cancer Care with 2 Versa HD machines installed.  The first machine became clinical on the 20th June and the second became clinical in September.

GCCQ saw a number of new physicists joining the team as well in 2016. The new recruits to Rockhampton included our Senior Physicist, Cameron Challens and Emma Spelleken, a registrar. Cameron Challens came with 24 years’ experience from Tamworth, NSW, having previous experience in South Africa and Saudi Arabia. Emma Spelleken has just recently graduated from her Master’s degree at QUT.

Two other registrars also joined the team, Holly Stephens and Shadi Khoei both based in Brisbane. Shadi joins us having completed her Masters and PhD in Medical Physics at QUT and has clinical experience at the Princess Alexandria Hospital. Holly comes with her Masters in Medical Physics from University of Adelaide and has been working clinically since 2012 at the Holman Clinic in Tasmania.

Lastly, two physicists were appointed to the Gold Coast. Jaysree Ukath comes with 24 years’ experience, previously working at Genesis Cancer Care NSW and Peter Mac in Victoria.  Svetlana Sjostedt joined the team as a Medical Physics Specialist and came with clinical experience from the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

Unfortunately, GCCQ also lost a valuable physicist, Tim Van Doorn, to retirement. Tim was with Premion/Genesis since 2007 primarily in a TEAP preceptor role.

The staff excelled this year with multiple presentations at international conferences, including ESTRO, AAPM, ICCR and EPSM.