Clinical Reports



Clinical Reports:

Odette Cancer Centre

Prepared by Dr. Gregory Czarnota

The clinical, research and educational activities of the Radiation Treatment Program at Odette Cancer Centre (Odette), Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre (Sunnybrook) continued to be energetically active in 2015-2016. In the past year, Odette was very busy with high clinical volumes of over 7000 new radiation oncology consultations.  The program has expanded its use of hypofractionated brain stereotactic treatments in addition to its single fraction radiosurgery program. We have also continued to expand our SBRT expertise with large clinical and research programs within each major disease site (e.g. prostate, pancreas, liver, CNS, breast, etc.). Odette also has an active oligometastases program with multiple on-going clinical trials. Prostate brachytherapy continues to be a priority program and our gynecologic interstitial brachytherapy program continues to grow with the leadership of our new staff Dr. Eric Leung. 

From a man-power point of view, there has been one staff radiation oncology position filled as Dr. Chia-Lin (Eric) Tseng was recruited to replace Dr. Phillip Davey who retired in November 2015.  The new position provided by the MOH is currently being advertised.  Steve Russell continues as our Manager and Head of Radiotherapy, and Dr. William Song continues as our Head of Physics.

The Program continues to foster its regional leadership role in cancer care. Radiation Oncologists continued to participate in radiation oncology clinics and multidisciplinary cancer conferences at a large number of academic and community hospitals including the North York General Hospital, MacKenzie Health, Royal Victoria Hospital, The Scarborough Hospital, Rouge Valley Hospital (Centenary Site), Humber River Regional Hospital, Toronto East General Hospital and St. Michael’s Hospital.  

Despite the very competitive grant funding climate, faculty members continued to be successful at capturing funding, with now over $30 million dollars in external peer-reviewed and industry supported grants. Faculty at Sunnybrook published over 350 peer-reviewed scholarly articles in 2015, with 155 as primary or senior responsible author. These research grants and publications are detailed elsewhere in the annual report. 

Princess Margaret Cancer Centre

Prepared by Dr. Andrea Bezjak

The Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Radiation Medicine Program (RMP) is one of the largest in the world with 36 radiation oncologists, 33 radiation physicists, 160 radiation therapists, 6 advanced practice radiation therapists, 3 nurse practitioners, 1 physician assistant and 115 administrative, technical and support staff, offering comprehensive and state-of-the-art image-guided radiotherapy to our patients. In fiscal year 2015-2016, our clinical activities included 8,287 patient consultations with the delivery of 10,616 courses of radiation therapy. There has been growth in several of our clinical programs, including increased use of the fully operational, state-of-the-art magnetic resonance guided radiation therapy (MRgRT) suite, the first of its kind in Canada. To date, the MRgRT suite at RMP has delivered over 200 gynecological high dose rate brachytherapy courses. 

We are meeting the guidelines set by Cancer Care Ontario (CCO) for the percentage of treatment plans that should be subjected to peer-review, the percentage of cases within the “referral to consult”, as well as the “ready-to-treat to treatment” wait-time targets. Quality and safety continue to be a major emphasis in our program, with peer-review site-based rounds for all tumour types, and program-wide monthly rounds that focus on process issues, dissemination of findings and actionable items. 

RMP continues to innovate to improve patient care. In the fall of 2015, an electronic application for documenting consent-to-treatment was launched program-wide. This paperless electronic system is associated with a substantial reduction in documentation errors and enables significantly faster consenting. 

Staffing changes in the past year included the appointment of Drs. David Shultz, Jennifer Croke and Alejandro Berlin as Radiation Oncologists. Departures included Dr. Caroline Chung, who moved to continue her career at the MD Anderson Cancer Centre, and Dr. Anthony Brade, who moved to become the Division Head of the Department of Radiation Oncology at the Carlo Fidani Regional Cancer Centre, in the Credit Valley Hospital, Trillium Health Partners. Sadly, a key member of the program, Dr. Michael Sharpe, passed away in June 2016.

In the past year, RMP members received notable awards for their significant contributions to the field of radiation oncology. In addition, RMP members continue to be actively engaged in transforming the practice through leadership at the local, national and international levels. Dr. Mary Gospodarowicz became an Officer to the Order of Canada. Dr. Michael Sharpe was elected as a Fellow of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) and Dr. Michael Milosevic was selected as the Gordon Richards Lecturer at CARO 2105. Dr. David Jaffray was appointed as the Executive Vice-President of Technology and Innovation at UHN; Dr. Michael Milosevic continued to serve as the Chair of the Canadian Partnership for Quality Radiotherapy and Dr. Marco Carlone as the President of the Canadian Organization of Medical Physicists. Many other staff members hold Chair positions within various professional committees, as well as Principal Investigator roles in clinical trials. 

Highlights of RMP publications include: the 9th Edition of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) Manual of Clinical Oncology led by Dr. Brian O’Sullivan, a ground-breaking study on the genetics of prostate cancer led by Dr. Robert Bristow, and a landmark study outlining the economic benefits associated with investing in radiation therapy in low and middle income countries by RMP members of the Global Taskforce on Radiotherapy, which is chaired by Dr. David Jaffray.

RMP staff continued to be involved in a broad range of research activities, spanning clinical, translational, basic science, physics, biology, education, health services research and beyond. Achievements in the past calendar year include obtaining over $40 million in peer-reviewed funding and 145 peer-reviewed grants; 228 peer-reviewed publications; with 186 prospective research protocols open; and accruing 10.5% of new patients onto prospective clinical research studies.


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