Current Projects

NTRO fully supports Continuous Professional Development (CPD) amongst staff and actively encourages participation in research and the undertaking of in-house project work.

Current areas of interest include: 

Improving outcomes in Aboriginal patients

An area of extensive study within NTRO, we currently have many initiatives aimed at improving outcomes within this demographic. These include:

  • the Clinical Experience Program in Oncology (CEPO)
  • analysis of patient presentation, treatment and outcome factors to identify focus areas and gauge improvement 
  • education through shared experience: an innovative ‘home video’ concept

 

Customised Bladder Filling Protocol for Prostate Patients

Prostate patients undergoing a course of radiotherapy are required to maintain a relatively full bladder for treatment. This ensures minimum bladder wall is within the treatment volume leading to a reduction in urinary side effect. A relatively constant bladder and rectal volume daily will also ensure the prostate gland remains is the same position and with minimal “twist and turn”. Greater accuracy in targeting radiotherapy to the prostate gland will improve local control of disease and reduced side-effects to the bladder and rectum.

The aim of this project is to develop a bladder filling protocol for individual prostate patient according to their personal gastro urinary habits. The amount of water and the timing of the water intake is customised individually according to the patient’s ability to comfortably comply with the water intake instructions. Bladder filling according to patient’s ability will provide a more consistent volume during the CT simulation and throughout the treatment course.

 

Prostate Toxicity

Irradiation of the prostate results in acute and long term toxicities to the urinary, lower GI and reproductive systems which can have a significant impact on quality of life. Standard dose-volume histograms (DVH) constraints on organs are used to minimise the extent of these toxicities. Current IMRT planning systems can achieve greater conformation of dose and provide opportunities for dose escalation above the current standard prescribed dose of 78Gy.

This project aims to demonstrate that escalating the prescribed dose above 78Gy and/or changes to our treatment technique do not significantly impact on the patient’s quality of life.

 

SABR

Stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR) is a revolutionary approach to radiation therapy for patients with early stage lung cancers. Clinical trials have shown patient outcomes from SABR treatments are very similar to that of surgery, so SABR provides an alternative treatment for medically inoperable tumours. This is made possible due to advancements in imaging, and highly conformal and accurate radiation delivery. SABR treatments are typically delivered in 3-5 sessions, compared to conventional lung radiation therapy (approx. 5-6 weeks) so there is the added convenience of completing the treatment faster.

NTRO is currently in the process of developing SABR protocols for early stage Lung cancer, in accordance with international standards. When operational SABR will be available here at NTRO for patients meeting the eligibility criteria, who are currently required to travel to alternative institutions for this treatment.

It is our goal to be equipped with the latest technology and advances in practice to provide the very best treatment for Northern Territorians without the need to travel interstate, and SABR is another step towards our goal.

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