Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre
Tomas, what is the best part of being a medical physicist?
Applying scientific method to real life problems. Possibly even making a difference…
How are you currently involved with TROG?
I am chairing the New Technologies and Techniques Committee (NTTC) which reports to the TROG Scientific Committee (TSC). This is a new committee within TROG that aims to support trial chairs, the TSC and the TROG QA office by developing guidelines for the use and integration of new technology into clinical trials. There is always a tricky balance in ensuring a high standard of trial conduct to yield reliable results and at the same time making it straight forward for everyone to contribute to the trials. The NTTC is still trying to find its feet here and we encourage all TROG members to contact us through the TROG central office if there are any suggestions, questions or concerns regarding new technologies in trials.
Tell us about a major project you are working on at the moment.
This is HART. HART stands for Heart Avoiding Radiation Therapy, which is a new trial proposal I will present at the upcoming TROG meeting early April in Queensland. The premise of the trial is to ask patients with left sided breast cancer to take a deep breath and hold it while radiation is delivered. This will move the heart out of the radiation fields and as such reduces unwanted dose to the heart, hopefully avoiding late cardiac toxicity. The trial aims to establish feasibility of Deep Inhalation Breath Hold (DIBH) and assess the resource implications for centres that would like to introduce the technique.
What has been the highlight of your working career so far?
Working with colleagues in TROG is one of them. There are so many other bits to enjoy in a medical physics career that it is hard to single out any of them. However, a special highlight was being selected as one of a group of 50 medical physicists featured at the International Conference of Medical Physics in Brighton UK last year to celebrate 50 years of the International Organisation of Medical Physics (IOMP). Always good to be associated with something younger than oneself.
What is it like to work at Peter Mac?
Never dull… Peter Mac is a dynamic place and I have the privilege to work with many inspiring clinicians, smart RTs and fun physicists (believe it or not), not to mention statisticians, students and many other health professionals.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Travelling, playing guitar and catching my breath after exercise.
Most things Vietnamese and Pretzel (the big one called “Bretzel”) with Bavarian Beer.
Person who has most inspired you in your life?
A donor who has supported our physics’ work for several years and chooses to stay anonymous.
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