Victor Wickerhauser, Ph.D., Washington University professor of mathematics in Arts & Sciences, and Joseph O. Deasy, Ph.D., assistant professor of radiation oncology in the School of Medicine, have applied a mathematical tool called wavelet analysis to radiation dose distributions simulations and have sped up the dose calculations by a factor of two or more over the standby dose calculation, called a Monte Carlo dose calculation method.
Wavelet analysis is a sophisticated kind of harmonic analysis that is integral in analyzing and compressing data -- video, sound, or photographic, for instance -- for a wide range of applications.
"Instead of taking hours, it takes minutes," said Wickerhauser, a pioneer in wavelet analysis who has applied the tool on analysis of fingerprints for the FBI, among many other applications. "The speed allows the radiation dose to be controlled more carefully, which will provide less damage to adjacent healthy tissues."
To get an accurate estimation of how much radiation should be given during a treatment, a dose distribution simulation first is performed.
This involves a model of radiation particles that simulates how the particles scatter over each other and other molecules. The Monte Carlo dose calculation method requires calculating 100 million particles to come up with a simulated dose. Wickerhauser and Deasy have used wavelets to speed the calculation up to where only one to four million particles are needed to come up with the simulation.
The technique of simulating radiation dose distributions has long been a mainstay in radiation oncology because radiologists don't want to irradiate nearby healthy tissue, especially if the cancer i
Contact: Tony Fitzpatrick
Washington University in St. Louis