Unencrypted login | home


News Release

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

July 29, 2008 -- HALF OF ALL AMERICANS will be diagnosed at some point in their lives with cancer, the number two killer in the United States. One of the professions at the frontlines in the battle against cancer are medical physicists -- scientists who use the power and innovation of physics to study and solve the most pressing medical problems.

Medical physicists help to develop new imaging technologies, such as dedicated breast CT scans, and improve existing ones. They devise new therapeutic techniques, including new radiotherapy applicators for cervical cancer treatment and procedures to focus radiation using nanoparticles, quantum dots, and other discoveries from the cutting edge of science, and they create methods to assess the safety and effectiveness of treatments that are already in use.

These and other topics will be the focus of the 50th annual meeting of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM), the largest medical physics association in the world. The meeting takes place from July 27 to July 31, in Houston, Texas.

Journalists are invited to cover the AAPM meeting in person or remotely. Additional news releases detailing other meeting highlights are hosted on the AAPM website (see link below).

  1. BREAST CT SCANNERS PROMISE PAINLESS ALTERNATIVE TO MAMMOGRAPHY

    "...The discomfort of a mammogram can drive some women to avoid the valuable screening, occasionally with dire consequences. Now a new procedure, dedicated breast computed tomography (CT), promises to take the pain out of breast cancer detection..."
    FULL DETAILS: Read them here.

  2. MEASURING CANCER THERAPY SUCCESS WITH OXYGEN

    "...Scientists at The Ohio State University (OSU) have identified a way to predict very early in the treatment process the outcome of radiation and chemotherapy for cervical cancer patients -- based on oxygen levels within the tumor..."
    FULL DETAILS: Read them here.

  3. HYBRID IMAGER COULD IMPROVE BREAST EXAMS

    "...An integrated, multi-modality molecular imaging system may improve detection, diagnosis and treatment monitoring of breast cancer, while also relieving some of the discomfort often associated with breast exams. The system allows subjects to lie prone while both a dedicated SPECT and CT scan are taken of the breast..."
    FULL DETAILS: Read them here.

  4. SPARING LEUKEMIA PATIENTS FROM UNNECESSARY TREATMENT

    "...Nearly a third of leukemia patients do not respond to chemotherapy, but this is not usually discovered until they have already endured a week-long chemotherapy treatment and waited a month to see whether it has worked. A new study shows that PET scans could tell how well a patient is responding after just one day of chemotherapy..."
    FULL DETAILS: Read them here.

  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). [Researchers] at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have developed a number of tools that make MERT more effective and customizable to individual patients..."
    FULL DETAILS: Read them here.

  6. IN THE ZONE: USING LOW OXYGEN ZONES OF TUMORS TO GUIDE RADIATION THERAPY FOR HEAD AND NECK CANCERS

    "...A familiar problem in cancer radiation therapy is the persistence of tumors that do not respond to standard doses. Tumors that are low in oxygen ("hypoxic") are in this category. They resist the curative effects of both radiation and chemotherapy-but that may change as a result of preliminary work by a group of New York researchers..."
    FULL DETAILS: Read them here.

  7. STUDY CORRELATES TEMPORAL CHANGES IN TUMOR HETEROGENEITY TO TREATMENT RESPONSE

    "...Some cancer cells may be highly resistant to radiation therapy, while others are insensitive to the drugs used in chemotherapy, all of which can confound cancer therapy. But does tumor heterogeneity change because of cancer treatment? [Researchers] at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, have taken the first steps toward finding an answer..."
    FULL DETAILS: Read them here.

  8. NOVEL INSTRUMENT MAY IMPROVE UPON THE SAFETY AND EFFECTIVENESS OF CERVICAL CANCER BRACHYTHERAPY TREATMENTS

    "... To treat cervical cancer, clinicians apply a high dose of radiation directly to diseased tissues, which may be administered using a device called an intracavitary brachytherapy applicator. Researchers at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center have designed a new applicator made out of special materials that makes it compatible with MRIs, and features a movable shield that both reduces the exposure of healthy tissues to radiation and permits the use of CT and MRI scans..."
    FULL DETAILS: Read them here.

  9. INNOVATIVE TECHNIQUE MAY ALLOW REAL-TIME IMAGING FOR PROTON THERAPY

    "...One of the most effective means of treating cancers is via radiation therapy. However, ionization and its by-products damage both the cancer and normal cells...."
    FULL DETAILS: Read them here.

  10. AUTOMATED COMPUTER ANALYSIS FOR DIAGNOSING BREAST CANCER

    "... Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), the development of cancer cells within the milk ducts of breast tissue, is thought to be a possible precursor of invasive cancer... Now researchers at the University of Chicago have developed an automated computer image analysis technique to ultimately characterize and diagnose DCIS and other breast carcinomas..."
    FULL DETAILS: Read them here.

  11. TRACKING TUMORS WITH BATED BREATH

    "...Breathing is a major complication for radiation treatment of lung cancer. The latest technology plans to tackle the problem by moving the radiation beam in unison with the breath. To help in the tracking, researchers have devised a new algorithm -- similar to one used by the post office -- that can predict where a tumor will be one second beforehand..."
    FULL DETAILS: Read them here.
****************************************************************

RELATED LINKS

HOW TO COVER THE MEETING

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.

####

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