RSAA Colloquia / Seminars / Feast-of-Facts: Tuesday, 10 February 2015, 11:00-12:00; CSO common room

Ilana Feain

"RadioAstronomy meets RadioTherapy: An inter-disciplinary approach enabling better outcomes for cancer patients around the world"

Radiotherapy (X-Rays that destroy cancer cells) is essential to treat half of all cancers. Right now, the world needs 10,000 additional radiotherapy machines to meet demand. The two major hurdles to provision of these machines are the exorbitant capital and ongoing costs (up to eight million dollars per machine plus 10%-20% annual service) and the recruitment and retention of a highly skilled workforce (10 on-site staff per machine) in rural, regional centres and developing countries. I will describe a novel new system we are building, Nano-X, that completely changes the way we treat patients for radiotherapy by moving the complexity of the system from hardware to software. The imaging and tracking (source finding) techniques being pioneered for Nano-X form part of an inter-disciplinary research program being developed through a CAASTRO collaboration currently involving Medical Physics and Astrophysics at Sydney and Curtin Universities, together with the Nelune Comprehensive Cancer Centre at Prince of Wales Hospital. I will use this seminar to introduce the project and encourage expressions of interest from graduate and postgraduates interested in becoming involved in a cross-disciplinary program between medical and astronomy with the potential to have a major impact on patient health outcomes around the world.