Interventional radiotherapy is the general term for all the medical procedures using minimally invasive techniques with the monitoring of medical imaging equipment for diagnosis and treatment, which is a new discipline integrating medical imageology and clinical treatment and has developed rapidly since the 1980s. In November 1996, it was officially named as interventional medicine, the third major therapeutics after internal medicine and surgery, in the Seminar on China’s Interventional Medicine Strategic Issues co-held by the State Scientific and Technological Commission, Ministry of Health, and State Food and Drug Administration.
Founded by professor Lin Gui, one of the pioneers and founders of China’s interventional radiotherapy, the department is the earliest one to work on interventional radiotherapy and establish individual wards in China. After 30 years of development, it now becomes one of the most famous clinical and research bases of interventional radiotherapy in the country.
In the early 1980s, it took the lead in China in the treatment of liver cancer through hepatic artery thrombosis, and obstructive jaundice through PTC and PTD, as well as in the experiment and clinical research on embolization agents.
In the late 1980s, it focused on the comprehensive interventional treatment of mid-late stage liver cancer, and carried out a lot of work on vascular and non-vascular interventional treatments.
In 1988, it established the first Combined Treatment Center of Interventional Radiotherapy in China, and in 1991, the first formal interventional radiotherapy ward (with 20 beds then, and 56 now).
As one of the key disciplines in both Shanghai and China, it holds a leading position in the country all the time with strong strengths and advanced techniques in diagnosis and treatment of interventional radiotherapy. For years, it has followed the direction featured with interventional treatments of tumor (especially liver cancer), portal hypertension, and vascular and biliary complications after liver transplantation. The level of treatments of primary liver cancer and portal hypertension is nationally or even internationally advanced. Moreover, it once led and completed the Research on Application of Comprehensive Interventional Treatment Technology of Liver Cancer, an important project in the Ninth Five-Year Plan of China, which won the first prize of Shanghai Science and Technology Progress Award and the second prize of Medical Science and Technology Progress Award of China in 2002. Another project, A Series of Researches on Application of New Technologies in Imageology and Interventional Radiotherapy to Diagnosis and Treatment of Liver Cancer, won the second prize of National Scientific and Technological Progress Award in 2005.
At present, about 6000 interventional operations are done here every year. Its advanced new clinical technologies include intracavitary implantation of Iodine-125 seeds to treat portal vein, inferior vena cava thrombosis, and malignant biliary obstruction; application research on the concurrent treatment of large and massive hepatocarcinoma through TACE combined with microwave/radio frequency multi-spot ablation; comprehensive interventional diagnosis and treatment of pancreatic and biliary tract tumors; and TIPSS & DIPSS of liver cirrhosis and portal hypertension.
Experts of the department also participate in the Multi-Disciplinary Experts Cooperation of portal hypertension, pancreatic cancer, gastric cancer, colorectal cancer, malignant tumor of biliary tract, and retroperitoneal soft-tissue tumor.
The department is responsible for teaching a course on interventional radiotherapy open to undergraduates and postgraduates of Shanghai Medical College, Fudan University. It also undertakes tasks of national continuing education and distance medical education, cultivating a large number of medical talents. As a national base of continuing education, it conducts training programs every year, playing an important role in promotion of new progress and development of new technology in interventional radiotherapy for liver tumor, vascular diseases, and pancreas and biliary tract. Each year, 10 to 20 refresher doctors come here from all over the country to receive professional training, and 20 to 30 residents are accepted to this base to take standardized training as well. Professional lectures and workshops on difficult cases are designed and organized for them weekly.
At present, there are 22 full-time interventional radiotherapists in the department, including 5 chief physicians, 8 associate chief physicians, 2 doctoral supervisors and 4 master supervisors.