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SCIENCE HIGHLIGHTS of the 50th AAPM Meeting in Houston, July 27 to July 31


One of the pioneering machines in image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT) has begun to mature, with over 1,000 treatments at one Oklahoma hospital alone. The hospital's staff has generated best-fit parameters from this voluminous data set.

In 2003, the TomoTherapy® Hi•Art® treatment system became one of the first to combine intensity modulated radiation therapy with CT scanning to ensure that the patient is well-positioned to receive the highly-sculpted beam energy. One of the specifications that makes the TomoTherapy hardware unique is that radiation is applied by a constantly rotating beam through which the patient advances on a slow-moving couch. The result is a helically-shaped radiation delivery.

Even though the TomoTherapy system is more automated than traditional treatment plans, the user must choose parameters such as beam size, delivery modulation, gantry rotation speed, and how fast the couch moves. As the technology is still fairly new, not many medical physicists are very familiar yet with what values to use.

But Dr. Allen Movahed (allen.movahed@ctca-hope.com) and his fellow staff are highly experienced with TomoTherapy planning parameters, seeing as the Cancer Treatment Center in Tulsa, OK, where they work has two of the machines. Ninety percent of the hospital's 70 radiation treatments per day are performed on a TomoTherapy machine. Dr. Movahed says the reason is that the helical radiation delivery provides better tumor coverage and depending on the shape and location of the tumor even less time than other radiation therapy technologies.

Dr. Movahed and colleagues have compiled a list of best-fit parameters that draw from their own trial and error with the TomoTherapy machines. The procedures covered include prostate, lungs, brain, liver, head & neck, breast, pelvis and pancreas.

Talk (WE-C-AUD C-05), " Analysis of Best Fitting Tomo Treatment Planning Parameters for Prostate, Lung, Breast, Brain, Liver, Head & Neck, Breast, Pelvis and Pancreas Lesions From Our 3 Years Experience Planning for Nearly 1000 Patients" is at 10:48 a.m. on Wednesday July 30, 2008 in Auditorium C. Abstract: http://www.aapm.org/meetings/amos2/pdf/35-9657-68328-620.pdf.




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.


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/.


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)

Jeff Limmer, AAPM Media Relations Subcommittee Chair