The number of patients receiving radiation therapy in the USA, as a component of their primary cancer treatment, is forecast to increase by more than 20% over the next decade to almost 600,000 per year. Yet, decreasing emphasis on radiation research over the past decade is making it more and more difficult to provide all oncologists and researchers in the USA with the best training by teachers with substantial expertise and practical experience in clinically-relevant radiobiology, and the integration of this knowledge wit medical physics which is now also required in the clinical practice of radiotherapy for cancer. We will provide all the disciplines within oncology with an innovative and advanced 6-day lecture, workshop and exercise based education course which integrates radiobiology with radiation physics and demonstrates how to apply state-of-the-art knowledge in the planning and delivery of modern high-quality image-guided radiotherapy combined with other modalities, and also in planning relevant and productive research. We hypothesize that by providing advanced biology and physics training integrated together, we will produce more effective oncologists, physicists and researchers with an increased interest in pursuing careers in academic radiation oncology and with skills to work successfully across specialties. This will increase translational radiation research and improve cancer patient care. Course participants will be exposed to internationally recognized experts within the fields of cancer biology, radiobiology and radiation physics, who also have track records of effective research and teaching in these fields. Training and education is targeted at those researchers and clinicians from any discipline wishing to undertake research in radiation oncology, new researchers wishing to gain knowledge to effectively enter the field, and existing professionals and researchers wishing to refresh and advance their knowledge to state-of-the-art. To Increase our capability in the USA to provide advanced instruction in academic radiotherapy, at least three potential new teachers will be identified and invited in every year initially as observers and possible active contributors to the course in subsequent years. Following course attendance, these new teachers will also be advised and mentored in building their own training programs. We will additionally identify those parts of our curriculum which are suitable to provide additional material online as "Web enrichment", initially for course attendees, but following positive evaluation of its impact, would be additionally developed as a stand-alone educational resource. "Ask the expert" will also be implemented online as a way of connecting all our teachers year-round with course attendees. We will continually develop, test and apply monitoring and evaluation criteria which will be used to gauge the success of the whole teaching program.
Decreased emphasis on radiation research and education has made it increasingly difficult to provide the most relevant training which is now required in the best clinical practice of radiotherapy for cancer. This program provides all disciplines within oncology with an innovative and advanced education course integrating radiobiology with radiation physics which demonstrates how to apply state-of-the- art knowledge in successfully delivering modern high-quality image-guided radiotherapy, in planning relevant and productive research, and in assuring the future availability of highly qualified teachers. This will all improve our cancer patient care and cure in the USA.