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Burying the Complexity: Re-engineering for the Next Generation of Medical Linear Accelerators for Use in Challenging Environments (THIRD CERN-ICEC-STFC WORKSHOP)

The workshop, Burying the Complexity: Re-engineering for the Next Generation of Medical Linear Accelerators for Use in Challenging Environments, jointly organised by STFC, the International Cancer Expert Corps (ICEC) and CERN, was funded through the UK’s Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF). It continued to develop the work that arose from two previous meetings held at CERN in November 2016 and October 2017. Its focus was to hear the outcome of five STFC seed-corn funded projects developed at the October 2017 workshop, and further refine the specification for a novel medical linear accelerator radiotherapy machine. Read more…

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Dr. Surbhi Grover’s efforts in Gaborone, Botswana are highlighted in the June 2018 Enlight Highlights newsletter. Dr. Grover, an Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology at University of  Pennsylvania (US) and Adjunct Senior Lecturer at University  of Botswana, has  focused her work on public health endeavors and cost-effective clinical initiatives to improve access to cancer care and outcomes of care in developing countries.  The article outlines her activities related to   four main pillars: clinical care  at PMH (largest tertiary public hospital with the largest public department in the country) for 50% of my time; research  in the framework of a collaboration of UPENN department of radiation oncology with University of Botswana; education  through U54 ( a mentoring core collaborative grant between UPenn and UB grant aimed to develop research capacity in HIV and cervical cancer among junior faculty at UB); technical Assistance to Ministry of Health (MOH)  to develop cancer guidelines for top 10 cancers in Botswana.  Read the article…

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African scientists launch their own preprint

A group of open science advocates has launched the first preprint aimed exclusively at African scientists. AfricArxiv seeks to improve the visibility of African science by helping academics share their work quickly. The platform will be hosted on the Open Science Framework (OSF), a free, open-source software that allows researchers to connect and share their work. It will support preprints, postprints, code and data, and welcomes submissions from all African languages, including Akan, Twi, Swahili and Xhosa. Read more…

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WHO’s NCD Commission Lights a Fire Under Heads of State

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Global Health Now, reports that to date, no country has met the 19 requirements of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Sustainable Development Goal 3.4: to reduce by one-third, premature mortality from noncommunicable diseases by 2030, as pledged in 2011 and 2014. The report, “Time to Deliver” released by the WHO’s Independent High-Level Commission on Noncommunicable Diseases, addresses the concerns of fragile health systems in countries, especially in low- and middle-income countries. Currently, nearly 41 million people die annually from non-communicable diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, lung, and heart disease. The commission members of the WHO recommend 6 solutions to the issue, the most critical one recommending the heads of state and government—not health ministers—should take charge of the NCD agenda because it crosses so many different government sectors. Read more…

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Workshop Report for Cancer Research: Defining the Shades of Gy: Utilizing the Biological Consequences of Radiotherapy in the Development of New Treatment Approaches—Meeting Viewpoint

The ability to physically target radiotherapy using image guidance is continually improving with photons and particle therapy that include protons and heaver ions such as carbon. The unit of dose deposited is gray (Gy);however, particle therapies produce different patterns of ionizations, there is evidence that the biological effects of radiation depend on dose size, schedule, and type of radiation. This National Cancer Institute (NCI) Sponsored workshop addressed the potential of using radiation-included biological perturbations in addition to physical dose, Gy, as a transformation approach to quantifying radiation. Read the article…

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The Radiation Stress Response: Of the People, By the People and For the People

Dr. Norm Coleman received a Failla Memorial Lecture Award in November 2017 for his outstanding radiation research. Dr. Coleman currently is a senior scientific advisor to ICEC.

The radiation stress response can have broad impact. In this Failla Award presentation it is discussed in three components using terms relevant to the current political season as to how the radiation stress response can be applied to the benefit for cancer care and as service to society. Of the people refers to the impact of radiation on cells, tissues and patients. The paradigm our laboratory uses is radiation as a drug, called “focused biology”, and physics as “nano-IMRT” because at the nanometer level physics and biology merge. By the people refers to how the general population often reacts to the word “radiation” and how the Radiation Research Society can better enable society to deal with the current realities of radiation in our lives. For the people refers to the potential for radiation oncology and radiation sciences to improve the lives of millions of people globally who are now beyond benefits of cancer treatment and research. Read the article…

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Zimbabwe moves to protect women from spiraling cervical cancer rates

The Guardian reports,  “More than 260,000 women worldwide die annually of cervical cancer, which could soon overtake childbirth as the developing world’s biggest killer of women. Low- and middle-income countries account for 85% of all deaths, and Zimbabwe is among the five nations – all of them in sub-Saharan Africa – with the highest incidence of cervical cancer.”  Zimbabwe is addressing this looming crisis in conjunction with the Unicef, the World Health Organization and the Zimbabwean health ministry through a vigorous initiative to vaccinate young girls against the human papillomavirus expected to reach almost every corner of the country. Read more…