Cancer specialist gives a masterclass

AWORLD-LEADING cancer expert has visited the North East to give health professionals a masterclass in advanced radiotherapy techniques.

AWORLD-LEADING cancer expert has visited the North East to give health professionals a masterclass in advanced radiotherapy techniques.

Prof Vincent Grégoire, from Belgium, is a highly-renowned specialist in head and neck cancer.

He was at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital yesterday for a two-day conference looking at the principles of radiotherapy planning and Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT). A total of 68 delegates from around the UK attended, including consultants, radiographers and medical physicists who were delighted at the opportunity to observe and interact with the top professor.

The Northern Centre for Cancer Care at the Freeman Hospital is one of only a handful of centres in the country to have a pioneering TomoTherapy radiotherapy machine, which is seen by many as the future of IMRT as it localises a patient’s radiotherapy to the affected spot.

Prof Grégoire said it was essential health experts had a clear understanding into the best ways of using such machines to achieve the best possible outcomes for patients.

He said: “In the last five to 10 years there has been a progressive change in the practice of oncology and things are moving forward quickly.

“My objective is to educate, help build the knowledge and understanding of medical physicists to fully understand the principles and importance of radiotherapy planning and IMRT for head and neck cancer so that they can utilise their skills in the best way for patients.”

Prof Grégoire works at the Academic Hospital of the Catholic University of Louvain in Brussels, where he is currently director of the Centre for Molecular Imaging and Experimental Radiotherapy, Professor in Radiation Oncology, and Head of the Department of Radiation Oncology.

He is the past president of the European Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology, is a board member of the Belgian Association for Cancer Research and chairman of the Radiation Oncology Group of the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer.

Dr Ujjal Mallick, Consultant Clinical Oncologist at Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, arranged the conference which included live demonstrations and practical sessions for the delegates.

He said: “It is a real coup to have Prof Grégoire in Newcastle as he is world-leading in his field and we are delighted he is here.

“Our aim is to provide the best possible service for North East cancer patients by using state-of-the art technology, including our TomoTherapy machine.

“Having Prof Grégoire here giving us his expert knowledge on advanced radiotherapy planning and contouring for head and neck cancer is a real boost for the region.”

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