ESTRO 2024

Radiotherapy Oncology: Bridging the Care Gap

Manchester Cancer Research Centre | ESTRO 2024

From 3rd to 7th May 2024, our researchers and representatives travelled to Scotland, Glasgow for the renowned ESTRO 2024. This exhibition marks an important date in the academic diary, as Europe’s largest industry exhibition in radiation oncology, with an ambition to ‘further reinforce radiation oncology as a core partner in multidisciplinary cancer care, and to guarantee accessible and high-value radiation therapy for all cancer patients who need it’.

 

This year’s theme, ‘Radiation Oncology: Bridging the Care Gap’ reflected on radiotherapy opportunities and brought to light challenges in the delivery of radiotherapy, focussing on ‘Optimal Health for All, Together.’

Once again, our Manchester researchers were on show at ESTRO 2024 with research that underpinned our internationally renowned programmes in radiobiology and radiation oncology. Altogether, we had 35 oral presentations, including 10 invited talks and 2 debates, 52 posters and 3 talks in the ‘go green’ sessions; an extraordinary effort. Huge congratulations to Professor Marcel van Herk, who was awarded the prestigious Emmanuel van der Schueren Award.  Exemplar research and exemplar impact from our Radiotherapy Related Research team.”

 

~ Professor Robert Bristow, Director of the MCRC

Professor Robert Bristow, Director of the Manchester Cancer Research Centre, looking at the camera

This year, our Manchester Radiotherapy Related Research (RRR) team were in full force, delivering:

 

  • 35 oral presentations
  • 10 invited talks
  • 2 debates
  • 52 posters
  • 3 talks in the ‘go green’ sessions

 

In this blog, we’re going to delve into the key takeaways from the conference, ranging from the award for Professor Marcel van Herk to our latest networking evening joint with The Christie School of Oncology.

Manchester Cancer Research Centre - ESTRO 2024

Dr Rob Chuter presenting in the 'Go Green' session at ESTRO 2024.

Photo credit Chris Watt

Manchester Cancer Research Centre - ESTRO 2024

Professor Peter Hoskin presenting at ESTRO 2024.

Picture credit Chris Watt.

Manchester Cancer Research Centre - ESTRO 2024

Professor Marcel Van Herk presenting at ESTRO 2024.

Picture credit Chris Watt.

Manchester Cancer Research Centre - ESTRO 2024

Dr Cynthia Eccles presenting at ESTRO 2024.

Manchester Cancer Research Centre - ESTRO 2024

SEC Armadillo

Manchester Cancer Research Centre - ESTRO 2024

SEC Centre

Manchester Cancer Research Centre - ESTRO 2024

Professor Marianne Aznar presenting at ESTRO 2024.

Emmanuel van der Schueren Award for Professor Marcel van Herk

 

The highlight of ESTRO 2024, was Professor Marcel van Herk being presented with the Emmanuel van der Schueren Award at ESTRO 2024 in recognition of his continuous commitment to the education and training of radiotherapy professionals.

 

This award is given in honour of the founding father of ESTRO and recognises ‘excellent scientific work, enormous contribution within ESTRO to the field of education and promotion of radiation oncology as a discipline.’

It was a great honour to receive the van der Schueren award. It was heartwarming how many people showed their appreciation for my work and I got many hugs! I hope my talk encourages people to link their development work to new or existing education.

 

~ Professor Marcel Van Herk

Manchester Cancer Research Centre | ESTRO 2024
Professor Marcel Van Herk receiving the Van der Schueren Award

Professor Marcel Van Herk receiving the van der Schueren Award at ESTRO 2024. Photo credits to Chris Watt.

Focus groups

 

ESTRO Lung Focus Group chaired by Professor Corinne Faivre-Finn

 

A focus is group ‘interdisciplinary group of experts specialising in a specific area of interest of the Society, including tumour sites, treatment techniques and knowledge frameworks. Which strengthens ‘the interdisciplinary work of the Society, expanding its activity in tumour sites, treatment techniques and emerging technologies’.

 

Focus groups such as the Lung Focus Group, chaired by Professor Corinne Faivre-Finn identify and address the needs of particular ESTRO sub-communities. They help with clinical and technical guidelines and provide invaluable expertise.

“Chairing the first ESTRO Lung Focus Group has been an incredibly dynamic and rewarding experience. Our multidisciplinary team — comprising oncologists, physicists, radiographers, and biologists—reflects the inclusive spirit of ESTRO, embracing diversity in age, gender, and geography.  Together, we are actively developing workshops, webinars, and contributing to the ESTRO 2025 programme, while also fostering mentorship and compiling post-meeting reports. The collaborative energy within this group is truly inspiring, paving the way for innovative advancements in lung cancer treatments.”

 

~ Professor Corinne Faivre-Finn

Corinne Faivre-Finn

Women in Physics group chaired by Professor Marianne Aznar

 

Professor Aznar is the founder and chair of the ESTRO ‘Women in Physics’ group. This year, her session boasted 79 attendees, both male and female.

“It was fantastic to see so many people coming to network and discuss how to improve the visibility and representation of women working in radiotherapy physics.”

 

~ Professor Marianne Aznar

Dr Marianne Aznar

Debates

 

Dr Eliana Vasquez Osorio

 

Dr Eliana Vasquez Osorio spoke against the motion in the closing debate: ‘Clash of the Tartans – The Great AI Debate – This house believes that the radiation therapy care pathway will be delivered entirely by bots by 2040’.

 

She managed to not only correct the chairman, but also introduced computer science and brought the patient perspective to the debate. Eliana highlighted the need to keep an eye in the process, not only in deciding what treatment to choose, but also during quality assurance, treatment delivery and follow up, as there are many human nuances that could escape any AI model.

 

She brought home the winning team, reminding us that AI can be biased and make mistakes, and that we need to include the patient into this discussion, citing Nic the patient representative who said: “Bots are akin to the patient being on a conveyor belt, treatment is “done to them” not “for them”.

Using AI is more than replacing the human in the treatment pathway. Different forms of AI (e.g., bots, decision making tools etc) are tools that are there to help us make the best decisions for our patients. The perception of the treatment by the patient (i.e. not feeling that their treatment is in their best interest) is key when building trust, and this trust can impact treatment outcomes. So, the question becomes: Is an exclusively-driven-bot care pathway best for our patients?”

 

~ Dr Eliana Vasquez Osorio

Dr Eliana Vasquez Osorio

MCRC – Christie ESTRO 2024 Academic Reception

 

On Saturday 4th May we held the second of our annual MCRC – Christie ESTRO Academic Reception at Hotel du Vin, Glasgow. This event provided a great opportunity for us to reconnect with our national and international radiotherapy colleagues and to catch-up with alumni from The Christie School of Oncology fellowship programmes.

 

This year we were delighted to be joined from colleagues from across the globe, providing an opportunity to connect with colleagues former and present as well as forge collaborations in a more informal environment.

 

“This was our second annual Academic Reception hosted between MCRC and The Christie and we were absolutely delighted to re-connect with colleagues from across the world in the beautiful setting of Glasgow. It was fantastic to see alumni and current trainees, as well as colleagues we are collaborating with from across Australia, Germany, Ukraine and other countries. We are already looking forward to next year when we shall return to Vienna!

 

~ Rachel Chown, MCRC Education and Development Lead

 

Manchester Cancer Research Centre | ESTRO 2024
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Radiotherapy Related Research

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