The Advanced Technology QA Center (ATC®) at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri was established as the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG) 3D QA Center in 1994. The ATC® has pioneered the development of radiation therapy data exchange formats (such as RTOG Data Exchange and Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM)) for multi-institutional clinical trials in radiation therapy. Through its data quality assurance efforts, the ATC® has succeeded in capturing complete, volumetric treatment planning (TP) datasets that can be linked to outcomes for over 20,000 clinical trial patients, facilitating QA review for more than 80 clinical trial protocols (eight clinical trial groups) in the U.S. and abroad. In its role of supporting clinical trials data collection, the ATC® has gained considerable experience in the collection and evaluation of DICOM images and radiotherapy information objects from all major treatment planning vendors.
The ATC® derives its history from the Image Guided Therapy QA Center (ITC) at WU, formerly part of the NCI U24 ATC grant. It has developed an informatics infrastructure and quality assurance process to support the submission, review, and analysis of volumetric imaging and treatment planning data for multi-institutional radiotherapy clinical trials. In this role, the ATC® has performed the following functions:
- Collect digital imaging, treatment planning, and verification data for several cooperative groups,
- Perform Digital Data Integrity Quality Assurance (DDIQA) on clinical trials protocol case data and credentialing data,
- Provide online remote review facilities for QA evaluation of protocol data, and
- Coordinate the development of IT infrastructure for advanced technology clinical trials data management and review.
Over the past 20 years, ATC® has led efforts to develop tools and processes to assure reliable exchange of radiotherapy treatment planning data. As a result, complete, volumetric datasets have been captured for over 20,000 patients on NCI trials for evaluation of protocol compliance and linkage to clinical outcomes. The ATC® continues to support NCI funded trials as part of the MGH and MD Anderson U19 (2U19CA021239 subaward 225395), a contract with MGH Proton Center federal share support, and the MGH PARTIQoL trial (NCT01617161). The ATC® has also served as the core lab for a pivotal trial of the Augmenix SpaceOAR™ product, involving analysis of multiple plans, imaging modalities, and time points. Based upon this trial, the product has received approval by the FDA and is now commercially available in the U.S.
The ATC® participated in the ACR QRRO Prostate Brachytherapy Survey, supporting collection of treatment planning data and performing dosimetric analysis of treatment plans. [Zelefsky MJ, et al., Results from the Quality Research in Radiation Oncology (QRRO) survey: Evaluation of dosimetric outcomes for low-dose-rate prostate brachytherapy. Brachytherapy, 2012, PMID: 22819388]