Access to Radiotherapy Technologies Study (ART) in the Baltics, Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Caucasus
The International Cancer Expert Corps (ICEC) a non-profit organization, undertook a regional study to understand the level of access to linear accelerator-based Radiation Therapy (RT) for cancer patients. Regional countries in this project include Armenia, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.
The study’s main objective was to determine barriers to and plans for the adoption of medical linear accelerators (LINAC) for cancer treatment. The study included participation by regulators of RT equipment as well as physicians, physicists and research scientists in the institutions that utilize those medical devices, and academic, institutional and medical researchers.
By leveraging what has been learned from our previous studies and analysis in the use of LINAC and Cobalt-60 (Co-60) based technology for RT for cancer treatment in the South East European Countries (the Balkan Peninsula) and in Africa, in the current ART project, we sought to study and understand the status of RT and assess the need for training and capacity building for effective and efficient treatment in the selected countries.
Questionnaires were developed targeting the following profiles:
- Clinicians (radio-oncologists) from the region in order to obtain data from hospitals about cancer, number of treated people, number of operational machines, etc. The objectives for adapted surveys were to better understand facility- and national-level plans for transitioning from Co-60 to LINAC, training and education opportunities, infrastructure challenges in LINAC operation, and any reservations/concerns about transitioning from co-60 to LINAC.
- The scientific community involved in the future for RT and radiobiology research facilities, in order to provide information about the research and education in accelerated particles and related topics (fundamental research and radiation/particle therapy).
- Regulatory bodies for radiation protection including the nuclear regulators and Ministries of Health for the countries being studied to gather data for the radiotherapy equipment.
The information obtained provided a better understanding of national-level plans for transitioning from Co-60 to LINACs, needs and opportunities for training and education as well as regulatory requirements for LINAC-based RT.
More Information and Webinars:
ICEC hosted two informational webinars providing details and information about the study.
The first webinar was held on May 31, 2022 (in Russian and English) for Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
The second webinar was held on June 1, 2022, for Estonia, Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova and Ukraine.
The webinar videos will be posted soon.
A summary meeting to review and discuss the findings was held September 13-15, 2022, in Almaty, Kazakhstan and a final report will be released in 2023.