Feature | September 03, 2014

Innovation at AAPM

Innovation was the theme at the recent 2014 annual meeting of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) in Austin. Its education and professional programs offered attendees the opportunity to gain practical knowledge on emerging technical and professional issues, and the scientific program featured the latest research on the physics of medical imaging and radiation therapy.  

Cutting-edge research was featured across the field of medical physics, featuring six hot topics that drew much interest in the conference portion of the event:

  • The Physics of Cancer 
  • Radiomics: Medical Imaging Meets Genomics in the Fight Against Cancer
  • Patient Safety in Radiotherapy
  • Advances in CT Imaging, Dose  Reduction and Image Quality
  • MRI Guidance for Radiation Oncology
  • Improving the Effectiveness of Proton Therapy

The Impact of Imaging in Medical Physics

Many other areas of medical physics were also covered at AAPM 2014, and during the event, I had the opportunity to talk with AAPM President John E. Bayouth, Ph.D., on the impact of imaging in medical physics, as well as the training that is available through AAPM. You can view the video,The Impact of Imaging in Medical Physics,” from itnTV, at http://bit.ly/1rSmkHZ.

Stereotactic Radiotherapy

I spoke with Peter G. Maxim, Ph.D., senior author of the abstract and assistant professor of radiation oncology at Stanford University, to discuss stereotactic radiotherapy for renal sympathetic nerve ablation for the treatment of refractory hypertension, and some of the challenges involved. Hear what he has to say in “Stereotactic Radiotherapy for Renal Sympathetic Nerve Ablation” at http://bit.ly/1lcXiVx.

Radiosurgery Beyond Cancer

A study presented at the meeting suggested that magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-guided radiation therapy also may be an alternative treatment for atrial fibrillation (Afib). It is a common heart rhythm disorder (arrhythmia) that affects more than 2.5 million Americans, significantly impairs the quality of life, increases the risk of stroke five-fold and doubles the risk of death. Researchers tested a special cardiac MRI on four patients, demonstrating it is possible to image the beating heart accurately enough to guide radiation therapy to treat Afib arrhythmias, with the challenge being to image a beating heart accurately to ensure the radiation therapy reaches the target without damaging the heart or surrounding tissues. The researchers are working to further develop the cardiac MRI and test it in patients. Paul Keall, Ph.D., FAAP, senior author of the abstract and professor and NHMRC Australian Fellow at Radiation Physics Laboratory at the University of Sydney, Sydney Medical School, sat down with itnTV to discuss radiosurgery beyond cancer. You can view the video, “Using Radiosurgery for Atrial Fibrillation Cardiac Ablation” to learn more, at http://bit.ly/1rSmQ8F.

A Look Ahead

AAPM 2015 will be held July 12-16, 2015, in Anaheim, Calif. For more information on the new products and technologies that were showcased this year in the exhibit hall, you can visit www.itnonline.com.


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