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CANCER RESEARCH HIGHLIGHTS
From the 50th AAPM Meeting in Houston, July 27 to July 31

5. OPTIMIZING THE TREATMENT OF SHALLOW TUMORS

A promising new way to treat superficial tumors, such as tumors of the scalp or of the chest wall after a mastectomy, is a procedure called modulated electron therapy (MERT). That's because the radiation dose of an electron beam falls off rapidly with distance, which allows the tumor to be irradiated at doses sufficient to kill cancerous cells, but spares the healthy tissue beneath from exposure to too much radiation.

Murat Surucu (msurucu@radonc.wustl.edu), a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Radiation Oncology Department at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and his colleagues have developed a number of tools that make MERT more effective and customizable to individual patients. Their protocol includes an automated field-shaping method to modulate the intensity of the electron beam and improve the ability to deliver an appropriate dosage to the tumor, a graphic user interface that can modify automated fields and energy selection, simulations that calculate dose distribution, and a second graphical user interface to optimize the overall dose distribution in the patient.

Surucu is the winner of the Jack Fowler Junior Investigator Competition, established in honor of Jack Fowler, Emeritus Professor of Human Oncology and Medical Physics at the University of Wisconsin. Talk (MO-D-351-01), "Optimization Tools for Modulated Electron Radiotherapy" is at 1:30 p.m. on Monday, July 28, 2008 in room 351. Abstract: http://www.aapm.org/meetings/amos2/pdf/35-9488-86182-982.pdf.

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HOW TO COVER THE MEETING

Reporters who would like to attend the meeting in person should fill out the press registration form on the AAPM Virtual Press Room. See: http://www.aapm.org/meetings/08AM/VirtualPressRoom/documents/pressregform.pdf.

Reporters who would like to cover the conference remotely will find releases and articles on the Virtual Press Room highlighting many of the interesting and important talks presented at the meeting. Even if you can't make it to Houston, the Virtual Press Room will make it possible to write stories about the meeting from your desk.

ABOUT AAPM

The American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) is a scientific, educational, and professional nonprofit organization whose mission is to advance the application of physics to the diagnosis and treatment of human disease. The association encourages innovative research and development, helps disseminate scientific and technical information, fosters the education and professional development of medical physicists, and promotes the highest quality medical services for patients. In 2008, AAPM will celebrate its 50th year of serving patients, physicians, and physicists. Please visit the association's Web site at http://www.aapm.org/.

ABOUT AIP

Headquartered in College Park, MD., the American Institute of Physics is a not-for-profit membership corporation chartered in New York State in 1931 for the purpose of promoting the advancement and diffusion of the knowledge of physics and its application to human welfare.

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Media contacts:

Jason Socrates Bardi, American Institute of Physics,
301-209-3091 (office) 858-775-4080 (cell)
jbardi@aip.org

Jeff Limmer, AAPM Media Relations Subcommittee Chair
jeffl@aspirus.org