LAUTECH don, Prof Oni, opens new vista in cancer treatment

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LAUTECH don, Prof Oni, opens new vista in cancer treatment
Femi OGUNLANA
Professor Olatunde Oni of the Department of Pure and Applied Physics Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso, has offered a new perspective in the treatment of cancer whose probability of scaling down cost of treatment in low- and medium-income countries (LMICs), is high.

Professor Oni revealed this in the monthly webinar of the Nigerian Association of Medical Physicists (NAMPS) Wednesday, monitored by ogbomosoinsghtweekly.com, in which he presented his recent medical research findings on the subject.

Speaking on the topic, “Towards a low-cost radiation treatment in low- and medium- income countries: A Monte Carlo exploration,”

Oni said with more researches in what he described as open access Monte Carlo simulation packages, the goal of low-cost treatment in radiation treatment could well be achieved.

Asserting cancer is a prevalent disease globally, he submitted, it “ranks as a leading cause of death worldwide,” just as he affirmed, “It is the first or second leading cause of death before the age of 70 years in 112 of 183 countries and ranks third or fourth in a further 23 countries (WHO, 2020), mostly LMICs.”
The international scholar also noted that “Since the beginning of the 21st century, there has been a considerable progress towards the treatment and understanding of the earlier proposed hallmarks of cancer (quoting Hannah, 2011) and together with advances in early detection and in the various treatment modalities, many cancers have become curable in countries with high Human Development Index.

Oni during the Zoom presentation

“76 million cancer death in a year, worldwide has 63% from developing countries (IARC 2010, Ferlay 2010, Jemal et al. 2011).”

The former Dean, Faculty of Pure and Applied Sciences, while maintaining there was need to attain low-cost cancer treatment identified radiotherapy, surgery, chemotherapy, photodynamic therapy and so on as some of the ways cancer is being treated presently insisting radiation therapy (radiotherapy) “remains an important component with approximately 50% of all cancer patients receiving radiation therapy during their course of illness (Ige et al. 2023), it contributes towards 40% of curative treatment for cancer.”

Emphasizing that major advances are being made in technological radiation in diseases diagnosis, treatment and prognosis he established that adopting Monte Carlo (MC) simulation approach offers greater hope in reducing cost of treatment.

Giving a description of general purpose Monte Carlo (MC) simulation packages as a “mathematical technique for estimating possible outcomes from uncertain events,” he added, “The computational ability of MC method providing a chance to see into the future has been harnessed in cancer treatment.”
The Professor of Radiation and Health Physics informed the techniques had played prominent role in all stages of cancer treatment adding “many general purpose MC packages have been developed rather than MC packages for specific simulation available in the past 2 to 3 decades.”

Professor Oni however identified some challenges militating against further advances in radiotherapy including lack of human resources with significant training and expertise, lack of treatment facilities, lack of fund to procure and maintain treatment machines and related equipment as well as poor availability of spare parts or maintenance engineer to manage the frequent breakdown of treatment machines.

He now listed TOPAS (Tools for Particle Simulation) and GATE (Geant4 Application for Tomographic Emission) as tools for in-silico medical imaging and radiation treatment.

In addition he stated that “the capabilities of the MC packages have been utilised in the simulation of medical diagnostic and treatment machines.”

While concluding that there was a high probability of MC simulation knowledge and packages contributing immensely to the advancement in the radiation treatment, he underlined that “the capability of Open Access Monte Carlo packages have not been harnessed for research and clinical applications in LMICs (Low- and Medium- Income Countries).”

The radiation expert therefore advocated among others its inclusion in the curriculum, creation of medical computation centres of excellence, its applications so as to complement existing software or used as substitute where none exists, having been validated with other centre(s) that might serve as remote hub for treatment.

Responding to a question on the future of the MC approach he reiterated “It was to provide low cost treatment for cancer in low- and medium- income countries, that is the goal.”

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