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- Physics of x-ray imaging systems: cone beam, x-ray scatter, innovative imaging geometries
- Contrast agents for image-guided therapy
- Advanced processes for image-guided procedures
- Integration of functional imaging data into the radiation therapy process
Radiation therapy, a proven cancer treatment, is employed to treat fifty percent of all cancer patients. Recent advances in the techniques of radiation delivery have highlighted the advantages of increasing the precision with which the radiotherapeutic dose distribution can be applied within the body. The vast majority of work in Dr. Jaffray’s laboratory focuses on the development of novel imaging systems and concepts to improve the precision of therapy by generating images at the time of therapy for the purpose of guiding the treatment delivery.
Recent developments have included the construction of megavoltage and kilovoltage imaging systems based upon high-performance charged coupled device cameras, prototyping, and evaluation of amorphous-silicon based large-area detectors for megavoltage work. In addition, a kilovoltage cone-beam computed tomography (CT) system has been developed. These systems have been integrated with the megavoltage treatment devices to improve the precision with which the therapy could be executed without the interference of mechanical immobilization systems. The cone-beam CT approach has also been extended to a mobile C-arm for intra-operative imaging and therapy guidance.
A direct by-product of these investigations is the development of clinical processes that can use the images generated by these systems in a sensible and robust fashion. The development of such image-guidance processes is an active area of ongoing research in the program. This area has been broadened through the use of cinematographic magnetic resonance imaging (MR) sequences that permit the spatial instabilities that are inherent in the human body to be assessed. These assessments describe a lower limit on the precision with which non-invasive therapy can be applied and they must be considered in the development of robust treatment regimens.