The Department of Bio-Medical Physics at the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary is participating in the THERAPY project, set up by the Entice TTN (Technology Transfer Nodes) and the Parallel Applications Centre (PAC), to assess the value of the RAPT treatment planning system in the everyday clinical practice of a hospital environment. The work started on April 1st 1998 and will end by April 30th 1999. The THERAPY initiative provides remote high performance computing tools and advanced 3D medical imaging techniques in order to plan adequate and effective radiotherapy treatment for brain cancer patients.
THERAPY builds further on the results achieved by the RAPT Consortium last year. The RAPT project partners have developed a low-cost parallel Monte-Carlo code to simulate the exact passage of multiple radiation beams through the various brain tissues via the use of 3D patient data. The radiotherapist thus can select the best scenario to reach the tumour without damaging the surrounding healthy tissue. The THERAPY team will use the RAPT know how to demonstrate the effectiveness of the method which will be made available in the future at an affordable cost to all except the really very small radiotherapy centres.
The Department of Bio-Medical Physics is funded by the Aberdeen Royal Hospitals Trust and the University of Aberdeen to serve the Grampian Region of Scotland and the Orkney and Shetland Islands in providing health care services, facilities and expertise with regard to medical physics, information technology, bio-engineering, and technology implementation in medicine. The Department is also charged with the study of how to apply physics and technology in medical diagnosis and treatment. In this regard, the scientific relevance of treatment plans in the domains of nuclear medicine, magnetic resonance imaging and radiotherapy, is constantly being evaluated.
The Aberdeen Royal Infirmary's Bio-Medical Physics' Department therefore seems perfectly suited to demonstrate the final results of the THERAPY project. The medical specialists will perform the radiotherapy treatment planning by using computing facilities, located at remote sites, to prove that high performance computing and networking (HPCN) techniques provide excellent means to adequately help and even save brain cancer patients in a very cost-effective way. We refer to the VMW article on the RAPT project for a better understanding of the underlying technologies. News on the project is hosted at the THERAPY Web site.