Proton Beam Therapy Fellowship: For Senior Residents at the Clinic for Particle Therapy at WPE

The Proton Beam Therapy Fellowship Program (PBTF) is designed for physicians to achieve additional clinical training and to gather research experiences in the field of Proton Beam Therapy/Particle Therapy. The program offers a unique opportunity to enhance clinical knowledge at one of the largest Centres providing Proton Beam Therapy in an academic setting. The Clinic for Particle Therapy/West German Proton Therapy Centre Essen is part of one of the oldest and largest Comprehensive Cancer Centres in Germany. In order to gain a full insight into the field of proton therapy, physicians are supposed to stay at Clinic for Particle Therapy/WPE for approx. 12 months in order to ensure comprehensive training.

Program Objectives

    • To provide comprehensive, clinical training on proton beam therapy in various tumour entities (CNS, Sarcoma, head and neck, prostate, childhood malignancies and moving targets like upper abdominal or thoracic tumours)
    • To provide research opportunities in the field of proton beam therapy
    • To build the basis for future international scientific and clinical cooperation

Clinical Training

The PBTF is designed to develop professional competence in the overall care of patients undergoing PBT and to enhance technical skills. Fellows are directly involved in the evaluation, workup and treatment of the cancer patients. This includes preparing patient triaging, treatment prescriptions, target and organ at risk contouring, reviewing treatment dose plans for PBT; getting acquainted with the most relevant pathological, radiological and clinical features with regard to patients being selected for proton beam therapy; getting into discussions with other involved disciplines like physicists or RTTs; taking part in interdisciplinary MDT discussions at the West German Comprehensive Cancer Centre; and presenting patients and treatment approaches to staff physicians.

The following training contents are achieved:

    • Acquire knowledge on the epidemiology, tumour and organ at risk anatomy, staging evaluation, and course of disease for various malignancies treated with PBT
    • Develop cancer treatment strategies for all PBT typical tumour types taking into account potential complications and outcomes expected
    • Learn technical conditions for planning, verification and administration of PBT for all relevant tumour entities
    • Preparation of irradiation plans together with physicists for different tumour entities (incl. contouring, tolerance of normal tissue, manufacturing of the immobilization aids, performing virtual PBT simulation, dose prescription and tolerance doses)
    • Participation in interdisciplinary planning and positioning meetings
    • Involvement in planning CTs/MRIs
    • Positioning verifications by X-ray and CT or MRI
    • Re-Planning and dose verifications
    • Use of intravenous contrast mediums for planning procedures
    • Documentation within a digital oncological information system (OIS) within Mosaiq
    • Participation in MDT discussions

Use of various Hard and Software systems like Mosaiq, Raystation (RaySearch), XIO, PACS (Centricity and Chilli-Pacs), TumorLoc)

The following special tasks are covered:

    • Initial triaging and recruitment of patients
    • Advisory activities for patients, families and referring institutions
    • Contribution to positioning and plan verifications
    • Weekly patients consultations
    • Side effect management
    • Assessment of treatment related adverse events (according to CTCAE)
    • Assessment of disease course and comorbidities within the framework of weekly check-ups and aftercare
    • Coordination of parallel medication and chemotherapy
    • Participate in the follow-up evaluation of patients who have completed therapy
    • Learn about expected outcomes for the disease, as well as late complications associated with treatment
    • Study documentation
    • Attend morning conferences on a regular basis
    • Management of cancer care in very young children, including the handling of anaesthesia during radiation treatment.

Scientific activities

All fellows are expected to complete at least one research project. Our study office will be available to provide support. It will be the responsibility of the fellow to identify a research question together with the WPE team, to develop a project plan and timeline, and finally to publish a paper together with WPE/Clinic for Particle Therapy.
Presentation of own work and present project is expected within the internal educational seminars but also at international conferences.

Participation in a PhD-seminar is possible.

It is also possible to participate in the preparation or evaluation of clinical studies.

Eligibility Criteria

Prerequisite for the participation in the Fellowship program is a) the completion of a medical degree and b) experiences in radiation oncology in order to have some basic knowledge. In addition, a residence permit/Visa in Germany.

Restrictions

For any direct patient contact, activities will be supervised and accompanied by a doctor licensed in Germany (German “Approbation”).

There is no remuneration for participation in the programme. Participants must make their own living. The WPE provides non-financial support in applying for documents and in finding accommodation in Essen.

How to apply

If you are interested in applying, contact the program manager Dr. Stefanie Schulze Schleithoff via E-Mail.