The Faculty of Radiologists of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland has initiated a new course this year which is designed to provide an overview of the role Radiation Oncology in the multidisciplinary management of patients with cancer, in addition to providing clinical context for the Specialist Registrars (SpRs) at the initiation of their 5-year, training programme.
The course included applied clinical anatomy for Target Definition for Radiotherapy, and an introduction to Medical physics and Immunity and Cell Biology in Cancer and was achieved through the integration of site specific lectures, tutorials and practical, clinical-case based, contouring sessions. The course was possible only through the commitment and collaborative participation of staff from a number of different institutions: the Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience, University College Cork, Departments of Medical Physics and Radiation Oncology, Cork University Hospital and the School of Medicine, Trinity College, Dublin.
The course began at the FLAME Laboratory (Facility for Learning Anatomy, Morphology Embryology) located in the Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience, UCC. The clinical, academic and technical expertise of staff and the ready availability of the hi-tech facilities of the FLAME lab made it the ideal choice for the training of future specialist radiation oncologists, given the critical importance of translating 2D, anatomical knowledge into 3D Radiological anatomy for these trainees. Dr Johnny O’Mahony (currently Lecturer in Radiology, Trinity College Dublin) provided revision of site specific, anatomy of clinically relevant regional anatomy which subsequently integrated with the clinical sessions in the afternoon. The technical and ongoing support of Dr Sue Grenham (Senior Technical Officer) and Mr Wayne Sheehan (Technical Officer), was invaluable to the smooth running of these sessions.
Dr Carol Mc Gibney, Course Coordinator, directed the afternoon practical target delineation for Clinical Cases and Scenarios in Breast Cancer, Rectal cancer and Lung cancer Therapy. These were based on the Clinical Teaching Database via a link from the Medical Physics Dept, Cork University Hospital to the FLAME laboratory. This was generated and integrated through the expertise of Ms. Caitriona Little, Senior Medical Physicist and Ms. Aoife O’Connell, Senior Dosimetrist of Dept. of Medical Physics, Cork University Hospital- and supported by Ms Caroline Sims, OIS Project Manager and Mr Gavin Kerrigan, ICT Analyst.
Training in Medical Physics and applied Cell Biology and Immunity took place at the new training facilities at the Faculty of Radiologists, RCSI. Here, the SpRs received tutorials from Dr Paul Hill, Medical Physicist, Cork University Hospital, on the basics of Radiation energy, interaction with tissues and radiation sources for Radiotherapy. It was possible to subsequently review and apply the basic principles to specific clinical cases at round table, case discussion- facilitated by audio-visual and internet link between the Dept. of Medical Physics, Cork University Hospital and the Tutorial Room, RCSI.
Dr Henry Windle, Assist. Professor in Molecular Medicine ( Clinical Medicine), Trinity College delivered lectures on Cancer Cell Biology-Cell Receptors & Cell-Cell communication. This was followed by lectures on Immunity and Cancer delivered by Dr Joanne Lysaght, Assist. Professor, School of Medicine, Trinity College. Feedback from the participants indicated that theses lectures were extremely timely and helpful as they provided insight into the molecular basis on which many clinical decisions for patients are made at weekly multidisciplinary meetings.
Initial evaluations from the SpRs indicate that this combination of didactic teaching, interactive small-group discussion, practical contouring of clinical cases facilitated the introduction to the core skills required and the basic knowledge on which to build experience during the first year. The coordination of the course modules and the bilocation was integrated through the office and team of the Faculty at RCSI- Ms Lorraine Coughlan, Ms Kayla Gant and Ms Cecilia Hartsell and Ms Jennifer O’Brien.
It is anticipated that support for this specialised, multifaceted induction course will be possible annually for those entering the Fellowship in Radiation Oncology Training Programme, at the start of the programme. It is also acknowledged that it would have been impossible this year without the immediate commitment of all participants and the support of Professor John Cryan, Professor of Anatomy and Neuroscience, UCC, Mr. Fintan Bradley, Chief Physicist, Cork University Hospital, Dr Pierre Thirion, Radiation Oncology Chair and Dean of the Faculty of Radiologists, Professor Max. Ryan.