The International Journal of Radiation Oncology * Biology * Physics' (Red Journal) May edition is a special issue focused entirely on particle therapy. It will feature papers showcasing the "best available evidence" on the value of particle therapy, as well as editorials and commentaries about its place in the radiation therapy (RT) arsenal.
The special issue, which is set to be double its usual size at more than 500 pages, will examine the current state of proton and carbon ion therapy. In the editorial of this landmark issue, Anthony L. Zietman, MD, FASTRO, the editor-in-chief of the Red Journal, states that particle therapy, while controversial on many fronts, is a "very attractive treatment for cancer" that has been studied and practiced but has not, as yet, been widely implemented largely for cost reasons.
Dr. Zietman discusses particle therapy's role in RT, as well as the Red Journal's role in publishing evidence-based information on the topic. He said a "tipping point" has now been reached in particle therapy, and in proton therapy in particular.
"Better evidence and/or cost reduction will accelerate proton therapy's use and its dissemination. Any less than this, and the scales will tip backwards, with policymakers deciding that there are better places to put finite healthcare dollars," he said.
The Red Journal's "'Particle Therapy Special Edition' shows how far this treatment, and our specialty, has come," Dr. Zietman said. "It provides a 'snapshot' of the state of art in 2016, and gives a glimpse of likely developments through the remainder of the decade."
The last 100 years have seen incredible advances in the safety and efficacious use of RT, he said. Technical advances have led the way.
"Particle therapy fits very clearly and comfortably onto a linear arrow of progress that includes cobalt machines, linear accelerators, CT simulators and IMRT. In the eyes of many, particle therapy represents that arrow's sharp tip," Dr. Zietman said.
He outlines the difference between particular therapy and past technologic improvements in two parts: citing first the issue of the cost to build a particle therapy center and second, the issue of timing as it relates to evidence-based medicine and cost containment.
A decade ago, there were few established proton and carbon-ion facilities around the globe, but that number has been growing at a rapid pace. Based on this growth, the Red Journal editorial board decided last year to create the special May Red Journal edition on the topic to showcase "best available" evidence.
"This differs, of course, from the best possible evidence but, as you will see, the difference is no longer as large. All the tools of modern clinical investigation — including quality of life studies and economic analyses — are now being employed, in addition to the more traditional prospective trials."
"Following our 'call for papers' last year, a staggering deluge of manuscripts were submitted," Dr. Zietman said. "As a result, you will read in this edition a creative range of the thought and research enterprise which we have chosen to sort into a number of different categories."
To read Dr. Zietman's full editorial or any specific clinical investigation, physics or biology contribution, commentary or other article featured in the May Red Journal issue, visit http://www.redjournal.org/current or reach out to ASTRO's Press Office at [email protected] For more information about the Red Journal, visit http://www.redjournal.org.
ASTRO is the premier radiation oncology society in the world, with more than 10,000 members who are physicians, nurses, biologists, physicists, radiation therapists, dosimetrists and other health care professionals who specialize in treating patients with radiation therapies. As the leading organization in radiation oncology, the Society is dedicated to improving patient care through professional education and training, support for clinical practice and health policy standards, advancement of science and research, and advocacy. ASTRO publishes three medical journals, International Journal of Radiation Oncology * Biology * Physics, Practical Radiation Oncology and Advances in Radiation Oncology; developed and maintains an extensive patient website, RT Answers; and created the Radiation Oncology Institute), a nonprofit foundation to support research and education efforts around the world that enhance and confirm the critical role of radiation therapy in improving cancer treatment. To learn more about ASTRO, visit http://www.astro.org.
Erin L. Boyle