Children with brain cancer are among those who should benefit from two scholarships announced for researchers at Wollongong University.

The Cancer Institute NSW scholarships – worth over $ 1 million combined – will go to Dr Saree Alnaghy and Dr Linh Tran, both of the Center for Medical Radiation Physics (CMRP) and are also affiliated with the Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute. Both scholarships last for three years.

Dr Tran is working on a new type of radiation therapy, called proton therapy, which can be “focused” to stop at the site of the cancerous tumor without damaging the surrounding normal tissue under the direction of distinguished professor Anatoly Rozenfeld.

Dr Alnaghy is developing a new imaging system for radiation therapy to better visualize soft tissue structures like tumors and critical organs under the guidance of Senior Professor Peter Metcalfe.

He said the current problem is that it is difficult to direct the beam of radiation during treatment and to avoid healthy tissue before and during treatment. His team is therefore studying the possibility of using a specialized spectral radiation detector capable of measuring the energetic information of X-rays which pass through the body.

“By analyzing the energy, we can get more detailed information about the material that it has passed through, which gives us better soft tissue contrast,” he said.

Better imaging leads to more precise radiation delivery, resulting in fewer side effects, more effective treatment, and less damage to healthy tissue. Dr Tran is also working on targeting tumors more directly but using an innovative treatment called proton therapy.

The CMRP team have invented a device called a ‘microdosimeter’ that they want to develop further for use in Australia’s first proton therapy facility, currently under development in Adelaide, as well as other locations around the world. world.

The invention represents a new paradigm that will provide maximum benefit to Australian cancer patients by minimizing damage to healthy tissue and maximizing patient outcomes. Through a combination of innovation and creativity, the microdosimeter will have unique properties that will enable the measurement of protons at clinically relevant high dose rates.

Dr Tran said the next generation of microdosimeter will also measure an important property called linear energy transfer, which determines the biological effect of the proton beam. She noted that this new treatment will be particularly effective for patients with cancerous tumors located next to other sensitive tissues or organs, such as the brain, spine and eye. It will be used when side effects of damage to healthy tissue are of major concern. This is particularly the case for cancers in children, and in particular cancers of the brain, where the surrounding tissues are still critically developing.

The Cancer Institute NSW is part of NSW Health and aims to end cancer by promoting early detection, cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care. Research grants are highly prestigious and competitive awards that allow researchers to develop their research capacities and become leaders of their own research team.

The global cancer diagnostics market size was valued at US $ 17.2 billion in 2021 and is should grow up at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.5% from 2021 to 2026. The growth of the cancer diagnostics market is mainly driven by the increasing incidence of cancer and the growth in the number of private diagnostic laboratories.

The number of private diagnostic centers is increasing across the world as there is an increasing demand for diagnostic imaging procedures and an increasing burden on public hospitals due to the limited number of imaging modalities available to them.

By technology, the cancer diagnostics market is segmented into IVD testing, imaging, and biopsy techniques. The IVD testing segment accounted for the largest market share in 2020. The large share of this segment can be attributed to the increasing incidence of cancer.