HDR Brachytherapy Curriculum

The delivery of high dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy plays a central role in the treatment paradigm of cervical cancer. HDR improves local control and overall survival, and the marginal cost for each treatment requires minimal material resources. External beam (EBRT) and brachytherapy delivered in combination can cure women with advanced disease, and in the absence of EBRT, brachytherapy alone can provide durable local control. However, radiotherapy is severely underutilized across Sub-Saharan Africa, including those with the necessary equipment.

In 2019, Rayos Contra Cancer (RCC) and BIO Ventures for Global Health (BVGH) partnered to establish a scalable high-quality gynecologic HDR brachytherapy training program. This targeted ten centers in Africa and the Middle East that shared fundamental gaps in training required to operate their acquired equipment safely and effectively. The program consisted of 18 educational sessions, each of one hour length, scheduled weekly over the course of 4 months. It was supplemented with real-time mentorship, support for safety and quality assurance documentation, and concluded with 2 weeks of consolidative onsite training at each site. The total costs for this innovative model amounted to $10,000 for training 10 high-volume radiotherapy centers.

The Full Curriculum is shown below and is also accessible here (subtitles available)

HDR Physics and technology and preparation for a new HDR suite 

Peter Sandwall, Ph.D

Medical Physicist

OhioHealth

Shipping and accepting a new source; and commissioning: Safety

Claire Dempsey, Ph.D

Medical Physicist

University of Washington

 Machines - Commissioning

Sonja Dieterich, PhD.

Medical Physicist

University of California, Davis

Source Strength - Commissioning

Adam Shulman

Medical Physicist

Doha, Qatar

Applicators - Commissioning

Ben Fahimian

Standford University

Sonja Dieterich

University of California, Davis

Ring Applicators

Claire Dempsey

University of Washington

Adam Shulman

Doha, Qatar

Commissioning TPS pt. 1

Sastry Vedam, Ph.D.

Medical Physicist

MD Anderson

Commissioning TPS pt. 2

Sastry Vedam, Ph.D.

Medical Physicist

MD Anderson

Accepting a New Service

Kevin Khadavi, PhD.

Medical Physicist

Austin Cancer Center

Applicators and Uses

Dan Scanderbeg, PhD.

Medical Physicist

University of California, San Diego

Cylinders

 Derek Brown, PhD. 

Medical Physicist

University of California, San Diego

Tandem and Ovoid

 Derek Brown, PhD. 

Medical Physicist

University of California, San Diego

Tandem and Ring

Dan Scanderbeg, PhD.

Medical Physicist

University of California, San Diego

Radiobiology and EQD2

Claire Dempsey, Ph.D.

Medical Physicist

University of Washington

Emergency Procedures

Steven Moeckly

Medical Physicist

Sanford Health-Sioux Falls

Clinical

John Einck, M.D. 

Radiation Oncologist

University of California, San Diego

HDR Brachytherapy Demo 1: Planning Tandem and Ovoid

Derek Brown                  Dan Scanderbeg

Medical Physicists

University of California, San Diego              

HDR Brachytherapy Demo 2: Planning Tandem and Ring

Michael Tassotto

Medical Physicist

Allegheny Health Network

HDR Brachytherapy Demo 3: Cervical Cancer Contouring

Anuja Jhingran

Radiation Oncologist

MD Anderson

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