The work of University of Wollongong physicist Dr Saree Alnaghy on a world-first robotic measurement device for use in complex radiotherapy treatments has been praised.

As a result Dr Alnaghy has also been named as a finalist in the 2019 Bupa Health Foundation Emerging Health Researcher Award.

Dr Alnaghy’s device is designed to ensure radiation is correctly delivered to tumours while avoiding healthy tissue damage.

It has the potential to reduce radiation treatment-related errors and significantly improve patient safety in high-precision cancer radiotherapy in Australia and worldwide allowing clinicians to know whether they are targeting the tumour correctly and whether the radiation dose is correct.

“I have developed a world-first quality assurance device that can mimic tumour motion and that can be used in the clinic to validate the treatment accuracies for targeted radiation therapy for cancer treatments,” Dr Alnaghy said.

“During radiation therapy tumours move, they translate and rotate, and modern radiation therapy technologies can now track this motion and adapt the radiation beam or the patient to the treatment to minimize any errors in the radiation.”

Distinguished Professor Anatoly Rozenfeld, UOW’s Centre for Medical Radiation Physics director, nominated Dr Alnaghy for the award and commended him for his ability to progress from theoretical understanding to final practical applications.

We need to move ahead. It’s the future of medical physics. It’s the future of patient safety. It’s the future of better treatment of cancer.

Distinguished Professor Anatoly Rozenfeld

Distinguished Professor Anatoly Rozenfeld and UOW physicist Dr Saree Alnaghy.Distinguished Professor Anatoly Rozenfeld and UOW physicist Dr Saree Alnaghy.

“I nominated Saree for this award due to his extremely important skill in developing hardware and software, and particularly radiation detectors,” Professor Rozenfeld said.

“We need to move ahead. It’s the future of medical physics. It’s the future of patient safety. It’s the future of better treatment of cancer.”

Westmead Hospital is now using the device for patient quality assurance under a clinical trial for treating liver cancers.

The trial is expected to expand to other sites, including Crown Princess Mary Cancer Centre, Westmead; Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark; Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne; Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane; Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney; and Calvary Mater, Newcastle.

First published on Illawarra Mercury website.