International specialists study Tomsk practices in cancer treatment

On November 28, international scientists and specialists of national atomic energy agencies and universities of the Rosatom partner countries, who were enrolled in a professional development program at Tomsk Polytechnic University, began their training at the Tomsk Oncology Center. They became acquainted with advanced medical equipment and its application for cancer diagnosis and treatment.

The specialists of international atomic energy agencies and universities undergo the two-week professional development program at Tomsk Polytechnic University, where they study the TPU unique nuclear installations, such as the research nuclear reactor, cyclotron, and betatrons. Subsequently, they will be able to use this equipment to train specialists in nuclear physics, medicine, and science in their countries. They study medical equipment at the radiological department of the Tomsk Oncology Center. This year, 15 specialists from Ghana, Nigeria, Egypt, Zambia, Bolivia, and Serbia were enrolled in the training program. The lectures and workshops are delivered by the specialists of TPU, the Tomsk Regional Oncology Center and the Rosatom Technical Academy .

The international specialists have already visited the Oncology Center before but for the first time they are for training here. The Oncology Center is one of the few medical institutions in this field, which work with international students and specialists.

“In the radiological department, jointly with the Department of Medical Physics, we demonstrate our unique equipment such as accelerator and radiation installations.

Additionally, our international colleagues will find out more about the equipment for cancer treatment and diagnosis, the introduction of new radiation therapy methods  and a completely new technique we launched first in Russia. We are talking about the adaptive radiation therapy, a more effective variety of classical radiation therapy,”

— Sophia Mazeina, chief medical officer, says. 

According to the course organizers, it is the nuclear medicine that is extremely interesting for international students, especially for specialists from Africa, as African countries have a high level of cancer. According to the World Health Organization, more than 60% of new cancer cases occur in Africa, Asia, and Central and South America.

Photo: international students at the TPU Reactor 

The students have already become acquainted with the potential of cyclotron in medicine, which is a cyclic accelerator of charged particles, and with the production of radiopharmaceuticals at the TPU reactor.

“Rosatom invited the National Atomic Energy Commission of Nigeria to come to Tomsk and take part in the educational program. My goal was to find out more about the cyclotron, the TPU research reactor, and the production of radiopharmaceuticals. This is a valuable experience.

In the coming years, Nigeria plans to develop the production of medical isotopes in its own research reactor since it is a very important issue for Nigeria. Currently, we import expensive medical isotopes mainly from France. We hope that Rosatom support will enable us to establish our own production of isotopes in the research reactor to reduce the cancer incidence,”

— Karnilius Justin Salou, deputy director of Nigeria Atomic Energy Commissions, says. 

Photo: Karnilius Justin Salou


Several factors make this program unique. Firstly, the TPU reactor is one and only operating reactors, which provides access to international students. Secondly, the program includes several training sites, such as university classrooms, the research reactor, and the advanced oncology center. Thirdly, international specialists will have a chance to become acquainted with other unique equipment. For example, there are betatrons, the most compact particle accelerators, developed in TPU.

The nuclear research reactor of Tomsk Polytechnic University is the only operating university reactor in Russia. It is in the list of unique scientific facilities and is a mega-science platform for advanced studies in the field of nuclear technology and nuclear medicine. Among the university research reactors, it distinguishes by high power capacity up to 6 MW.