R&D lead dosimetrist wins acclaim at ESTRO33

Hayley with her award at Estro33

Research and development lead dosimetrist with GenesisCare's research team, Hayley Chesham, has won an award at Europe’s premier radiation oncology event, ESTRO33.

The four-day event was held in Vienna, Austria, and focused on new and emerging developments in radiation oncology. This provided an ideal opportunity for the research team, led by clinical research fellow, Dr Hemal Ariyaratne, to share their initial findings on three pieces of research, including the initial phase of Hayley’s work analysing reduced PTV margins for prostate IMRT with daily online IGRT.

Working closely with Dr Ariyaratne, Hayley used data from a pool of prostate patients across four Genesis Care centres – South Downs, Southampton, Elstree and Little Aston. All patients were treated with 74Gy in 37 fractions using IMRT with daily online IGRT.

In order to investigate if the PTV (planning target volume) margin could be reduced if using daily imaging, Hayley analysed data comparing the dose that was delivering by using their standard 7mm margin with what would have been delivered had the margins been reduced to 5mm and 3mm.

Hayley, who is based at GenesisCare’s Elstree Cancer Centre in Hertfordshire, said: “It is early days and this was just a summary of our initial findings from the pilot study of eleven patients. It confirms that there could be scope to reduce PTV margins to 5mm for prostate IMRT with daily IGRT. This would further reduce the risk of side effects without reducing the effectiveness of the treatment. It’s very exciting, and we’re looking forward to completing the research and determine our final conclusion over the next few months.”

Over 1,800 abstracts were submitted to ESTRO33, of which over 500 were displayed as posters at the event. Each was independently scored by four members of the Scientific Advisory Group, chaired by Michelle Leech, head of discipline of radiation therapy at the School of Medicine in Dublin, Ireland.

Michelle said: “The jury took into account the academic content as well as poster layout, creativity and visualisation. They also rated the information’s relevance to the profession and its value to radiation therapy technologists in their daily practice.

Hayley added: “I was surprised but really pleased to have won. Dr Ariyaratne and I have worked hard on the project, and a lot of work still needs to be done, but it’s nice to have our initial results well received by the European radiotherapy community.”

Hayley trained at the University of Sydney in Australia and worked at The London Clinic before joining GenesisCare four years ago. She started as a senior dosimetrist at Elstree Cancer Centre before developing her career by joining the newly established research unit in March 2013.

"I was ready for a new challenge, so when I heard that GenesisCare had plans to develop a research team I applied," explained Hayley, who was thrilled to be offered the job. "It is hard work but extremely rewarding. Having spent most of my career working with advanced radiotherapy technology it's great to be able to analyse our data to really demonstrate the benefits of what we are doing, and potentially tailor our techniques so it is even more beneficial to patients."

Chief medical officer, Prof Karol Sikora, said: “We know that combining IMRT and daily IGRT provides the best outcomes for patients. But not many cancer centres in the UK offer daily imaged guided treatment, and there is very little research into this in the UK so this was one area we were keen to focus on when we set up our research unit.

“I’m pleased the various presentations and posters from our team were well received at ESTRO, and am delighted that Hayley’s dedicated work was recognised with the announcement she’d won the best poster.”

To see Hayley’s poster, click here.

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