Nestled in the leafy surrounds of Melbourne’s North East suburbs is a facility using innovative technology to contribute to the care of cancer patients around Australia. Not a single patient comes for treatment, but the work the scientists do here has a big impact on their treatment.
The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) is the Australian Government’s primary authority on radiation protection and nuclear safety. Part of this role involves supporting hospitals and clinics to ensure they give patients accurate and effective doses for cancer treatment.
To do this, ARPANSA uses a medical linear accelerator, also known as a linac. Their first clinical linac was used to calibrate every hospital reference chamber in the country. A brand new linac was installed in March this year.
Dr Ivan Williams, Chief Medical Radiation Scientist at ARPANSA says with the new linac, ARPANSA’s medical radiation services can continue to ensure Australians undergoing medical procedures receive the correct amount of radiation.
“It will maintain our medical radiation services capability and international best practice in medical radiation protection,” said Ivan.
Ivan is confident the linac has future-proofed ARPANSA against anticipated changes in the medical oncology environment.
“The new linac will provide a national resource to support leading edge radiotherapy for the next decade,” he said.
Andrew and Faiz of ARPANSA’s Australian Clinical Dosimetry Service use a purpose-built ‘phantom’ manikin to test radiation doses.