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General News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

REVOLUTIONARY PROTON-THERAPY DEVELOPMENT, SPEEDING UP CT SCANS USING CELLPHONE TECHNOLOGY, AND ULTRASOUND WARNING SIGNAL FOR BREAST CANCER TO BE DISCUSSED AT MEDICAL PHYSICS MEETING

College Park, MD, July 10, 2007 –The 49th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) will take place July 22-26, 2007 in Minneapolis, MN, at the Minneapolis Convention Center.  Expected to be one of the most highly attended AAPM meetings to date, the conference will feature over 1,100 scientific papers on subjects at the intersection of medicine and physics. Many of these topics deal with the development of state-of-the-art imaging and therapeutic devices for cancer, and the new techniques that go along with them. 

The scientific program will begin on Sunday, July 22 at 9:30 AM and conclude on Thursday, July 26 at 5:30 PM.  Scientific abstracts that scored high during the review process were identified as "Reviewer's Choice" selections.  More details on these noteworthy presentations can be found on a special meeting webpage (http://www.aapm.org/meetings/07AM/SpecialRecognition.asp).

MEETING HIGHLIGHTS

Meeting highlights include: a new discovery that ultrasound might provide a warning signal for breast cancer; a multiplexing technique, similar to ones used in communications technology, to produce faster computed tomography (CT) images; a new device that may make proton cancer therapy a much more widespread treatment option; and a hybrid magnetic resonance imaging /x-ray machine that may lead to improved cancer treatments.

ABOUT MEDICAL PHYSICISTS

If you have ever had a mammogram, an ultrasound, an x-ray, a CT or a PET scan, chances are reasonable that a medical physicist was working behind the scenes to make sure the imaging procedure was as effective as possible.  Medical physicists help to develop new imaging techniques, improve existing ones, and assure the safety of radiation used in medical procedures.  They contribute to the development of therapeutic techniques, such as the radiation treatment and prostate implants for cancer.  They collaborate with radiation oncologists to design cancer treatment plans.  They monitor equipment and procedures to insure that cancer patients receive the prescribed dose of radiation to the correct location.  AAPM's annual meeting provides some of medical physicists’ latest innovations, which may be coming soon to a hospital near you.

HOW TO COVER THE MEETING

Reporters who would like to attend the meeting should fill out the press registration form (http://www.aapm.org/meetings/07AM/VirtualPressRoom/documents/07PressForm.pdf). Even if you can't make it to Minneapolis, the Virtual Pressroom and this news release are designed to make it possible to write stories about the meeting from your desk.

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE SCIENTIFIC PROGRAM

The following highlights represent some of the many noteworthy talks that medical physicists will present at the meeting.      

  1. MEASURING BREAST DENSITY WITH ULTRASOUND
  2. BORROWING "MULTIPLEXING" TECHNIQUES FROM TELECOMMUNICATIONS MAY SIGNIFICANTLY SPEED UP MEDICAL SCANS
  3. INNOVATIVE PHYSICS DEVICE MAY REVOLUTIONIZE CANCER TREATMENT
  4. HYBRID MRI-RADIATION THERAPY MACHINE MAY IMPROVE TREATMENT FOR MANY CANCERS
  5. NEW 3-D IMAGING SYSTEM FOR IMAGE-GUIDED INTERVENTIONS
  6. A SOLID STATE X-RAY IMAGE INTENSIFIER
  7. 3D BREAST IMAGING USING GAMMAS AND X RAYS
  8. SMALLER IS BETTER FOR HEAD AND NECK IMAGING

ADDITIONAL SESSIONS OF INTEREST

This year's President's Symposium, chaired by AAPM President Mary Martel (UT MD Anderson Cancer Center), explores the concept of using medical images as biomarkers for monitoring patient response to drug and radiation therapy (http://www.aapm.org/meetings/07AM/PRAbs.asp?mid=29&aid=8005).  At the meeting's professional symposia, speakers will tackle topics such as developing medical physics technical standards, the challenges of introducing new technology into the clinic, and special issues for scientists in signing legal statements related to medical treatment.  The educational symposium contains sessions on interacting with the news media, using PET and SPECT imaging in optimizing treatment plans, and efforts to increase the medical physics education of diagnostic radiology residents. 

ABOUT AAPM

AAPM (www.aapm.org) is a scientific, educational, and professional organization of more than 6,000 medical physicists. Headquarters are located at the American Center for Physics in College Park, MD. Publications include a scientific journal ("Medical Physics"), technical reports, and symposium proceedings.

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For more information, please contact Ben Stein of the American Institute of Physics, bstein@aip.org, 301-209-3091, or Jeff Limmer, AAPM Media Relations Subcommittee Chair, jeffl@aspirus.org.