Doha, 8 November, 2014: A team from the Department of Radiation Oncology at Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) National Center for Cancer Care and Research (NCCCR) has successfully implemented a sophisticated initiative – Magnetic Resonance Image-Guided Adaptive Brachytherapy (MR-IGABT) – for the treatment of patients with advanced cervical cancer.
The project is led by the department’s Chairperson, Dr. Noora Mohammed Al-Hammadi and Dr. Primoz Petric, Senior Consultant in Radiation Oncology. Other team members are Chief of Medical Physics, Rabih Hammoud, Clinical Administrator, Gregory Perkins, and the radiation oncology team: Satheesh Paloor, Sally Adnan Sheim, Mohamed Riyas, Saju Divakar, Jillian Hayes, Maeve Mc Garry and Elham Khairy.
Brachytherapy is an interventional radio-oncological procedure, representing an essential treatment component for cervical cancer. The historical or conventional method of brachytherapy is based on a two-dimensional (2D) system of points, defined on pelvic radiographs or computed tomography (CT) images. There are several limitations of the conventional approach, reflected in its suboptimal dosimetric (measurement of the absorbed dose delivered by ionizing radiation) and clinical results. The implementation of the modern state-of-the-art MR-IGABT project aimed to reform the brachytherapy practice in the department to improve clinical outcomes.
Initiated by the team in February 2013, MR-IGABT is an evidence-based treatment technique that can significantly improve the results of treatment in cases of inoperable cervical cancer. With the use of MR-IGABT in advanced cervical cancer, cure rates of up to 90 percent can be achieved. This represents a 20-30 percent improvement compared to conventional brachytherapy techniques. This innovative method of treatment is also proven to reduce the rate of complications and allow an improved quality of life for patients.
The MR-IGABT initiative was one of 10 clinical practice improvement focused projects that were recently recognized at HMC’s Stars of Excellence Awards.
“Our project was developed using evidence-based limitations of conventional brachytherapy and advantages of MR-IGABT. Since its successful implementation, the project has shown clear advantages over the conventional approach,” says Dr. Primoz Petric. He recalls that between October 2013 and June 2014, the first six patients with locally advanced cervical cancer were included in the new MR-IGABT program. To date, a total of 19 procedures have been successfully conducted.
According to Dr. Al-Hammadi, MR- IGABT is a complex procedure that requires sub-specialized medical expertise and sophisticated technology and infrastructure. “The successful implementation of MR-IGABT was critically dependent on a systematic multidisciplinary approach. With this procedure, we were able to achieve a safe and clinically significant rise in the radiotherapy dose administered to the primary tumor in our patients. This improved their chance of a straightforward cure.”
In addition, she said the team’s achievement showed their commitment to high quality educational and research efforts. “This commitment is reflected in the growing number of scientific publications, international conferences and teaching courses that our experts are contributing to as speakers and members of faculty. Being recognized at the Stars of Excellence Awards is a big honor and an opportunity to celebrate our efforts. We mainly see this achievement as an enormous responsibility to continuously improve our work in the best interests of our patients.”
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