BRAVO is a collaboration initiative between the medical world (radiation oncologists) and industry partners. The industrial partners are members of the Belgian federation for the industry of medical technologies: beMedTech.
beMedTech offers managerial, secretarial and organisational expertise and support in the operation of BRAVO. For specific projects, e.g. the creation of this website, the industrial partners also contribute financially. Since a wide array of industry partners is represented, and because there is an equal partnership between the industry and the medical world, there is no risk that BRAVO is influenced towards specific solutions offered by specific vendors only.
The BRAVO industrial partners are:
- CH Jolimont-Lobbes-Tubize - Dr. N. Christan, radiotherapist-oncologist
- CHU du Sart Tilman - Prof. Ph. Coucke, radiotherapist-oncologist (and Dr. N. Jansen, radiotherapist-oncologist)
- Clinique Universitaire Saint Luc - M. Coevoet, medical physicist and A. Vaandering, quality manager radiotherapy department and Vice President Afiter.be
- Iridium Kanker Netwerk - Prof. P. Meijnders, radiotherapist-oncologist (and D. Verellen, medical physicist)
- Institut J. Bordet - Prof. D. Van Gestel, radiotherapist-oncologist (en Y. Jourani, medical physicist)
- UZ Gent - Dr. L. Veldeman, radiotherapist-oncologist (and L. Van den Berghe, head nurse radiotherapy department + member of the board VVRO)
- UZ Leuven - Prof. G. De Meerleer, radiotherapist-oncologist and co-chairman BRAVO
Industrial partners - Sponsors
- Accuray Europe - S. Thompson
- BXT Accelyon - M. Voncken
- De Ceuninck Medical - J. Van Dam (en B. Noordkamp)
- Elekta - M. Guerchaft (en B. Gitmans)
- Orfit industries - S. Cuypers, co-chairman BRAVO
- Raysearch Belgium - A. Zimmerman
- Varian Medical Systems - P. Vereecke
- beMedTech - H. Hellinckx
- SCK-CEN - Prof. S. Baatout
The industry partners can be classified by type of products offered to treat patients:
- Manufacturers of treatment delivery machines for external beam radiotherapy
These large machines, known as linear accelerators, are at the center of modern radiotherapy. They can send with ever more precision and speed beams of all appropriate sizes and intensities towards a tumour. They come equipped with a large number of safety tools and systems to obtain supplementary imaging during the treatment.
Treatment machines no longer treat patients in a static way, they are able to rotate around the patient, and some systems don't simply move around the patient in a rotational circle, but they can also approach the patient from different angles. Furthermore, some treatment machines have tools to handle the movement of patients and target volumes during the treatment itself.
- Providers of treatment planning systems
Treatment planning systems are complex information technology platforms that manage medical images, and data from the radiotherapy treatment machines to calculate how to best combine radiation beams to obtain a suitable dose distribution in the patient. A medical physicist calculates a treatment proposal, which is then discussed with the radiation oncologist. During this discussion, it is necessary to make choices between different approaches, whereby modern treatment planning systems offer advanced tools to compare treatments plans. Because of the multitude of image series used and obtained before and during a treatment, these vendors also offer tools to manage a series of images.
- Manufacturers of brachytherapy systems
Radiation techniques based on using radioactive sources in direct contact with the patient require specific tools: applicators to place or insert in the patient, source projectors to send the source to the applicators, and relevant quality-control, imaging and treatment planning systems adapted for brachytherapy. Some vendors specialize in brachytherapy, other vendors have both brachytherapy and external beam systems on offer.
- Suppliers of immobilisation systems
Treatments are more precise, and therefore safer and more effective, provided that patients do not move on the treatment couch during treatment. A multitude of tools exist to immobilize patients in a comfortable, precise and hygienic way. A number of vendors specialize in these immobilisation devices and related tools.
- Vendors of quality control and physics material
Mainly medical physicists, but also physicians and nursing staff use during modern radiotherapy a multitude of tools to check and document treatments, to inspect the correct functioning of the treatment machines, and to measure the precision of all technical and IT-tools used. These vendors also offer tools to guarantee radioprotection.
- Vendors of brachytherapy isotopes
Some brachytherapy treatments involve the insertion of radioactive isotopes in the body. The most common treatment is permanent seed implants in the prostate for prostate cancer. These seeds need to be adapted to obtain the ideal dose distribution within the prostate, and some vendors specialize in these seeds.