Research into particle therapy, a form of radiotherapy for cancer treatment, is expected to take a major step forward this year.
Dr Linh Tran, a postdoctoral researcher from the Centre for Medical Radiation (CMRP) and ANSTO, has been selected as one of the top ten researchers in Australia to participate in the Australia-Japan Bilateral Exchange Program.
The program allows for a small number of Australian researchers to travel to Japan in order to work on a number of projects with diverse findings.
During her visit, Dr Tran will assist with cancer research at the National Institute of Radiological Sciences (NIRS)in Japan, which is one of the most renowned radiological institutes in the world. She will be researching radiology-based treatments, such as a type of particle therapy known as ion therapy.
“This program will allow me to participate in outstanding research. I will work together with outstanding Professor Naruhiro Matsufuji, the head of Biophysics,” Dr Tran said.
“Australia and Japan are both heavily active in the field of Proton and Heavy Ion Therapy.”
Researchers have found that particle therapy has advantages over traditional x-ray radiation therapy, specifically a low-risk of radiation-associated side effects. According to Distinguished Professor of Medical Physics and founder of CMRP, Dr Anatoly Rozenfeld, some of these side effects include tissue damage.
CMPR has been involved in proton therapy research since 1999, and they have since developed several generations of innovative radiation technology to assist facilities in other countries.
“We don’t currently have proton or heavy ion therapy facilities in Australia, but we’re working on that. We hope that CMRP, with ANSTO and several hospitals across Australia will bring this technology to Australia – for the benefit of children, first of all.” Dr Rozenfeld said.
Dr Rozenfeld hopes to expand this research through Dr Tran’s exchange program, as he feels that her experience will be an essential contribution to Australian particle therapy science.