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New CRP: Development of Methodology for Dosimetry Audits in Brachytherapy (E24023)

New Coordinated Research Project
Medical physicists performing a dosimetry audit on an HDR brachytherapy unit (DOL, Seibersdorf)

Medical physicists performing a dosimetry audit on an HDR brachytherapy unit (DOL, Seibersdorf). (Photo: IAEA)

The IAEA is launching a new five-year Coordinated Research Project (CRP) commencing in 2021 that seeks to verify the dosimetry of the brachytherapy process for the safe and effective treatment of cancer patients in Member States. The CRP on Development of a Methodology for Dosimetry Audits in Brachytherapy” (E24023), is expected to benefit Member States by establishing an audit program for independent verification of the dose delivered by high dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy.

The CRP will include developing and testing calibration and auditing methodologies for gynaecological HDR brachytherapy applications using 60Co or 192Ir sources. Furthermore, the results of this CRP will encourage the development of national dosimetry audit networks in Member States. Although some remote and on-site brachytherapy auditing methodologies have been developed in the past by national and regional dosimetry audit networks, most audits concentrate on the verification of the source strength and characterization of the source in the treatment planning system.

The three major process steps to be investigated are:

  1. Verification of the reference air KERMA rate of the high dose rate 60Co and/or 192Ir brachytherapy micro-source(s);
  2. Validation of treatment planning dose calculation for typical gynaecological treatment applications;
  3. Develop and pilot an end-to-end dosimetry audit methodology in the clinical environment.

Key factors in the validation of the typical treatment process are the reproducibility and accuracy of the source positioning and the calibration of the HDR source. Participants will therefore assess the standards of quality and safety for effective brachytherapy treatment of cancer patients and evaluate the comparability between Member States.

This new CRP builds upon the success of four previous CRPs focusing on the development, testing and dissemination of dosimetry audit methodologies for external beam radiotherapy that were coordinated by the IAEA Dosimetry Laboratory (DOL). This CRP seeks to include a brachytherapy audit methodology to strengthen national dosimetry audit network capabilities.

The application process will be carried out through a submission of the Proposal for Research Contract or Agreement to the IAEA’s Research Contracts Administration Section using the appropriate template on the CRA web portal. Applications should include details of the scientific scope of the project in addressing the overall problems and specific objectives for the country including the background and infrastructure information pertaining to gynaecological HDR brachytherapy services.

CRP overall objective and expected outcome

The primary objective of this CRP is to develop dosimetry audit expertise in brachytherapy, as validated in at least 3 pilot hospitals by the national network, and to make an audit methodology available for transfer to Member States.  Clinically, it will directly benefit the accuracy, quality and safety of HDR gynaecological brachytherapy services in participating Member States. It will also enhance the capabilities of participating Member States to become involved with state-of-the-art scientific research centers and to establish international scientific networks leading to the development and adoption of advanced brachytherapy techniques.

The CRP will address several of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG 3 to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages; and SDG 17 to enhance global partnership and cooperation at regional, national and local levels.


To support some expenses of the project each Research Contract awarded to the local institution in the framework of this CRP is associated with an annual financial support of 8000 euros per year for a period of 4 years (subject to annual review), while minor equipment procurement may also be supported. All participants of the CRP are required to attend three Research Coordination Meetings at the Agency’s expense. During the application process teams will be expected to provide a detailed budget.

Duration – Applications

The expected duration of the CRP is 5 years (2021-2025). National dosimetry audit networks, radiation metrologists and scientists in dosimetry laboratories with the relevant audit capabilities and clinical radiotherapy medical physicists with expertise in brachytherapy are encouraged to apply. Research proposals can be submitted until 28 February 2021. The first Research Coordination Meeting is planned for 26—30 July 2021 in Vienna, Austria. Information on the IAEA Coordinated Research Programme and how to apply for research contracts and research agreements can be found at Coordinated Research Activities. For further information related to this CRP, potential applicants could contact the Project Officer via e-mail at the following link Development of Methodology for Dosimetry Audits in Brachytherapy.

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