Research into particle therapy, a form of radiotherapy for cancer treatment, is expected to take a major step forward this year.

Dr Linh Tran, a postdoctoral researcher from the Centre for Medical Radiation (CMRP) and ANSTO, has been selected as one of the top 10 researchers in Australia to participate in the Australia-Japan Bilateral Exchange Program.

The program allows Australian researchers to travel to Japan to work on a number of diverse projects.

Dr Tran will be involved in advanced medical physics research at the National Institute of Radiological Sciences (NIRS) – one of the most renowned radiological institutes in the world. She will research radiology-based cancer treatments, such as ion therapy.

“This program will allow me to participate in outstanding research. I will work together with outstanding Professor Naruhiro Matsufuji, the head of Biophysics,” Dr Tran said.

“Australia and Japan are both heavily active in the field of Proton and Heavy Ion Therapy.”

Researchers have found particle therapy has advantages over traditional x-ray radiation therapy, including a low-risk of radiation-associated side effects. According to Distinguished Professor of Medical Physics and founder of CMRP Dr Anatoly Rozenfeld, the finite range of protons involved in ion therapy leads to much less radiation delivered to tissue. He said the reduced radiation dose reduces the probability of secondary cancer and damage to critical organs near the treated region.

CMPR has been involved in proton therapy research since 1999, and it has developed several generations of innovative radiation technology to assist facilities across the globe.

“We don’t currently have proton or heavy ion therapy facilities in Australia, but we’re working on that. We hope that CMRP, with ANSTO and several hospitals across Australia will bring this technology to Australia – for the benefit of children, first of all,” Dr Rozenfeld said.