By Bill Hansen, Director of Flash Marketing, Varian Medical Systems
Varian hosted the first meeting of the FlashForward Consortium in Atlanta, Georgia on March 8-9. The two-day meeting was attended by 50 Consortium members representing 14 institutions from around the globe, including key opinion leaders in the field of radiation oncology, translational sciences and medical physics.
During the meeting, attendees worked to identify pre-clinical studies that will help to discover the mechanism-of-action, and offered guidance on the design, safety and quality acceptance guidelines for the first human clinical trials. The members also reviewed initial Flash therapy treatment plans using Varian Eclipse™ treatment planning software in conjunction with the unique advantages associated with the ProBeam® system.
Building on its market-leading efforts in preclinical research aimed at clinical implementation of Flash therapy, Varian has partnered with the University of Maryland Department of Radiation Oncology and Cincinnati Children's/UC Health Proton Therapy Center to conduct the first ever proton Flash animal studies. The results from these studies were presented to the consortium members and the promising results will be shared at many of the upcoming conferences. Learnings from the consortium workshop will be presented in future abstracts aimed at moving Flash therapy forward to eventual patient benefits.
Overall, the energy, enthusiasm, and quality of the discussions were inspirational. The consortium members and the global radiation oncology community is recognizing the potentially transformative impact Flash therapy may have with respect to global standards of care and the positive results it may have for patients in their fight against cancer.
Flash therapy is defined as non-invasive treatment using an external beam delivered in high doses, at ultra-high speeds (less than 1 second), and in one to three sessions. It represents an exciting and potentially promising new direction in the treatment of cancer. Varian’s proton platform has the most powerful clinical accelerator on the market, optimized to deliver the ultra-high dose rates necessary to produce the Flash biological impact.
The FlashForward Consortium is focused on preclinical research, clinical implementation and advocacy efforts for Flash therapy. The next FlashForward Consortium meeting is scheduled for June 11th in Manchester, UK during PTCOG 2019.
Members include representatives from the following 14 leading cancer research institutions: