Albert Biete tackles the challenges of intraoperative radiotherapy upon admission to the Royal Academy of Medicine of Catalonia

Albert Biete, full academician of the Royal European Academy of Doctors-Barcelona 1914 (RAED), entered as a corresponding academician at the Royal Academy of Medicine of Catalonia on April 17 at a ceremony held in Barcelona. The recipient read the admission speech “La radioterapia intraoperatoria: una contribución a la mejora de los resultados de la cirugía del cáncer” (Intraoperative radiotherapy: a contribution to the improvement of the results of cancer surgery). Maria Àngels Calvo, who is a full academician and also president of the Section of Health Sciences of the RAED, answered on behalf of the Royal Academy of Medicine.

In his speech, Biete introduced the bases of the so-called intraoperative radiotherapy, that dose of ionizing radiation (electromagnetic or accelerated electrons) that is administered in the course of the surgical act taking advantage of the access that allows the operative field, and reviewed the history of its application in Spain, a path of more than a century marked by difficulties and risks. “Without all that difficult path we wouldn’t have reached that intraoperative radiotherapy is now common and decisive in the treatment, for example, of breast cancer”, said the new academician.

Figures in hand, Biete pointed out the status of the application of this treatment in Catalonia, the technology that accompanies it and the latest practices for the treatment of tumours located in the abdominal cavity thanks to the implementation of new techniques in various countries.

Calvo, meanwhile, highlighted the recognized academic and professional career of Biete and emphasized his ability to face challenges and techniques as complex and controversial as intraoperative radiotherapy. For the academician, the advances only come from the hand of who assumes risks as is the case of the recipient.