Radiation oncology, biology and physics stand at the threshold of new approaches to treatment that promise to utilize the extraordinary advances in radiation delivery, molecular biology, and molecular imaging that will significantly affect a cancer patient's long-term survival and quality of life (QOL). However, ensuring the successful development of these advances necessitates the creation of a cadre of basic scientists, medical physicists and radiation oncologists with a common base of knowledge, dedicated to translating this knowledge into clinical practice To help meet these needs, the Postdoctoral Training Program in Translational Radiation Oncology (TRADONC) in the Department of Radiation Oncology at WFUHS was established and awarded NCI-funding in 2005. The major goals of this program are to i] broaden the research infrastructure of translational radiation researchers by increasing the number of well-trained basic scientists with biology or physics backgrounds exposed to clinical radiation oncology, ii] develop a cadre of radiation oncologists proficient in hypothesis-driven basic, translational, and clinical research, and iii] equip biologists, physicists, and radiation oncologists with a common knowledge base that will allow them to interact effectively to improve the response of cancer patients to radiotherapy and their quality of life. We believe that have made excellent progress during the initial 5 years of funding. We have had >100 individuals apply to the program and have appointed 5 basic scientists, 3 medical physicists, and 2 radiation oncologists. Four trainees have completed or left the program;6 are still in training. In this renewal, we request continued support for 6 trainee positions per year. Although the overall goals of TRADONC have not changed, we have made several modifications to the training program based on our experience and the recommendations of the lAB and EAB. These include, i] changing the 3-year fellowship to 2 years with an optional 3'^''year, to help attract and meet the needs of the MD trainees, ii] requiring a rotation through all the radiation oncology services for the PhDs, and iii] supplementing the year of clinical research with a Challenges in Radiation Oncology Forum. With these changes, we believe that the program will be even more successful in generating the cadre of translational basic scientists, medical physicists and radiation oncologist required to meet the radiation oncology challenges of the 21st century.
Training radiation oncologists, biologists, and physicists to interact and communicate effectively in multi disciplinary research teams will ensure the effective translation of advances in radiation delivery, treatment planning, imaging and biology, to the cancer patient, resulting in significant improvements in long-term survival and quality of life.
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