The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Department of Radiation Physics Summary of the Research Program
Research in the Department of Radiation Physics is organized into the following focused programs:
- Image-guided radiotherapy and adaptive interventions for IMRT and proton therapy of lung, prostate, liver and head and neck cancers. A major portion of these investigations involves four-dimensional imaging and methods to manage intrafractional respiratory motion.
- Physics and clinical aspects of proton radiotherapy. These investigations include improving the state-of-the-art of proton therapy planning and delivery methods and devices and participation in the development of protocols and conduct of clinical trials.
- Intensity-modulated X-ray and proton therapy. These include adapting and improving underlying methods for optimizing IMRT and IMPT plans and developing strategies and algorithms for improving the optimality and accuracy of treatment plans.
- Application of Monte Carlo, pseudo Monte Carlo and deterministic methods to enhance the accuracy of dose computations for protons and photons, to develop new dose computation models, to design novel treatment devices and to study the potential and limitations of existing devices and systems.
- Radiation dose-response assessment, modeling and applications. The studies to date have focused on dose-volume response of normal tissues involved in the radiotherapy of lung and prostate cancers.
- Radiation dosimetry including the use of scintillation detectors for photon and proton quality assurance and in vivo dosimetry.
- Assessment of risks of radiation-induced secondary cancers for photon and proton radiotherapy.
- Epidemiological studies of radiation carcinogenesis.
In addition, the department’s NCI-funded Radiological Physics Center supports clinical trials and cooperative groups to ensure that institutions participating in clinical trials deliver prescribed radiation doses that are clinically comparable and consistent. More details on the department’s research activities can be found in the past two years’ list of research publications. A substantial portion of the research in the department is in close collaboration with our colleagues in the Department of Radiation Oncology.
We continually translate our findings into clinical practice. Recent examples include lung, esophagus, liver and paraspinal cancers. The department’s research is supported by both internal and external sources. In FY09, the Department received $6.7 million from external sources. The most important recent research achievement was the award of an NIH P01 Program Project grant entitled “Optimization of Proton Therapy” in collaboration with Massachusetts General Hospital. The department also receives substantial support from institutional resources.