Planning for provision of shared access to facilities and knowledge to improve patient safety
Radiation therapies are expected to continue to be in the front line for providing effective cancer treatment and diagnoses. Europe has a strong record of developing medical applications of ionising radiation, and demands for improved treatments are expected to drive further innovation. For example, technologies are being developed that combine imaging and radiation, radio-pharmaceuticals and applications of pulsed radiation. Access to such devices is uneven across Europe as some metrology institutes are disadvantaged through lack of access to state-of-the-art research facilities, while the complexity, costs, evolving regulatory requirements, and discrepancies in knowledge and capability each act to compromise the provision of effective metrological infrastructure. Demand for new technologies imposes requirements for new measurement techniques, informed by the best research. Understanding of adverse side-effects is also essential. However, no single body exists specifically to coordinate solutions, so Europe’s metrology institutes are not able to serve some important measurement needs of equipment manufacturers, academics, standards organisations, and bodies representing radiation oncology, medical physics, pre-clinical research, and medical staff.
This four-year project will enable facilities to be shared and a dialogue initiated between stakeholders. A Strategic Research Agenda for the coming decade will be proposed, regulatory needs defined, and knowledge-sharing offered. Within 12 months, a specific plan for a metrology research infrastructure will be presented via a European Metrology Network. These actions are expected to support enhanced research reproducibility and standards development, enabling safer, more efficient treatments and diagnoses. Improved understanding will also speed the development of new therapies and diagnostic tools, while increased understanding of risk factors will improve patient safety.