Health and Medicine

Wollongong conference attracts leading world physicists

The forum will showcase the latest in cancer radiation research.

Physicists from around the globe converged on Wollongong from 10 to 16 February for the 2020 edition of the biennial international conference Mini-Micro-Nano-Dosimetry (MMND) and Innovative Technologies in Radiation Oncology (ITRO).

MMND ITRO 2020 brought together Australian and international radiation oncologists, medical physicists and radiobiologists to showcase technology and methodologies aimed at improving healthcare outcomes in modern radiotherapy, a cornerstone of cancer treatment.

Topics discussed at MMND ITRO 2020 included: emerging radiotherapy techniques, radiation dosimetry for quality assurance, radiobological optimization of treatment, radiomics (a term that describes the conversion of medical images into mine-able datasets) and machine learning (which relies on techniques and algorithms that enable computers to discover patterns in large datasets).

A unique platform for Australian and international cancer care experts to brainstorm together and find possible solutions, MMND ITRO 2020 celebrated and dissected success stories navigating and exploring clinical case studies. It also provided a glimpse into the next decade, identifying current and future challenges in areas of unmet need.  

General Chair of MMND ITRO 2020 was Distinguished Professor Anatoly Rozenfeld, Founder and Director of the Centre for Medical Radiation Physics at the University of Wollongong, who is also affiliated with the Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute. Professor Rozenfeld leads a team of more than 100 research students, researcher scientists and adjunct staff.

Professor Rozenfeld was born in Ukraine and graduated from the prestigious St Petersburg Polytechnic Institute and the Kiev Institute for Nuclear Research. He studied under some of the leading minds in the fields of theoretical physics, experimental radiation physics and nuclear physics.

“My mum passed away from a brain tumour when I was 10 years old so I pretty much grew up without a mother, but with a decent father,” Professor Rozenfeld recalls.

“She was 34 at the time and she was a medical doctor herself. In the 1960s in the Ukraine there was no advanced radiation imaging for cancer diagnostic and medical treatment for cancer.

“When I left Ukraine I decided I should work in this newer field and use my skills and knowledge in medical radiation to help people. This became my vision.

“Current radiotherapy treatments are very accurate, but also complex, and complexity increases the potential for error. Errors can be avoided by introducing smart technology and methodologies.

“And that is what we have been doing at Centre for Medical Radiation Physics for the past three decades, with the aim of offering safer and more accurate radiotherapy treatments to all cancer patients.”

Story by Louise Negline – UOW Media Unit

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