Westmead Hospital’s Radiation Oncology Department leads pioneering stereotactic radiosurgery training

Vanathy Manivasahan, Hanh Vu, Dr Peter Gorayski, Daniel Gower, Katia Starkey, Paul Reich, Eireann Cosgriff

Westmead Hospital’s Radiation Oncology Department has been chosen as the training site for Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH) staff adopting the stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) technique.

Known for its years of experience in treating multiple brain metastases using the SRS technique, Westmead Hospital’s Radiation Oncology Department attracted RAH staff looking to implement the same system and software.

Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) is a form of radiation therapy that uses many precisely focused beams to deliver radiation to a very small tumour or tumours, typically in the brain. This is usually delivered in one to 5 treatment sessions.
Although the word surgery is used, SRS does not involve any surgical cuts and is a non-invasive treatment. Delivering SRS involves making a head mask to minimise patient movement. Xrays are taken on a radiation treatment machine to ensure the patient is positioned accurately with measurements taken before treatment is given.

Professor Verity Ahern, Westmead Hospital Radiation Oncologist

Staff from RAH visited for two days of training by Westmead Hospital radiation oncologists, radiation therapists and radiation physicists.

“Our SRS treating team provided RAH staff information about each step of the SRS process, and gave a demonstration of radiation treatment immobilisation, simulation, treatment planning, dosimetric verification, and treatment delivery,” Professor Verity Ahern, Westmead Hospital Radiation Oncologist said.

Our multidisciplinary team works together very closely, and we hope the RAH group recognised the importance of this in delivery safe and kind care to our patients. 

Professor Verity Ahern, Westmead Hospital Radiation Oncologist

To continue building their expertise and reputation in this field, the Department has set their focus on contributing to the stereotactic radiosurgery research field.

Collaborating with radiation biology research colleagues, the Department is conducting a stereotactic radiosurgery trial to evaluate the effect of stereotactic radiosurgery on brain metastases.

So far, $200,000 has been received from peer reviewed research grant funding through the Sylvia and Charles Vietel Charitable Foundation and Ramaciotti Foundation.

This research trial along with other previously published research by the Department aims to improve the treatment of brain metastases and promote the SRS technique as a treatment method across Australia.

We hope to promote the increasing uptake of stereotactic radiosurgery for patients with multiple brain metastases in Australia.

Professor Verity Ahern, Westmead Hospital Radiation Oncologist