4D proton therapy, radiation-resistant tumors, interpreting medical images

at University Medical Center Utrecht (Netherlands), Philips Research Hamburg (Germany), and Elekta Oncology Systems (Great Britain) uses a slightly modified commercial MRI unit surrounded by a movable accelerator (producing 6-megavolt beams of electrons to generate x rays). The whole process of tumor imaging and dose delivery is under computer control.

According to Jan Lagendijk (J.J.W.Lagendijk@radth.med.uu.nl, www.radiotherapie.nl), he and his colleagues expect that this new design will become the next-generation radiotherapy treatment machine. The superior image quality of the MRI available on line during treatment should have a large impact on the design of individualized radiation-therapy treatment plans. (MO-E-J-6B-3, Monday, 4 PM; for another recent hybrid machine that combines MRI and x-ray methods, see a June 2005 Physics Today article at http://www.physicstoday.org/vol-58/iss-6/p22.html).


Taking advantage of the properties of electrons in certain biochemical compounds, Charles Pelizzari (c-pelizzari@uchicago.edu) and his colleagues use a novel technique to form images of the oxygen distribution of small animals with millimeter spatial resolution.

Developing these tools at the Center for In-Vivo EPR Imaging directed by Howard Halpern at the University of Chicago, the researchers create these important maps of oxygen levels by magnetically manipulating the unpaired electrons in certain oxygen-containing molecules such as free radicals. Most electrons in atoms and molecules form pairs that mutually cancel out their internal magnetic properties, but unpaired electrons can give the atom/molecule "paramagnetic" properties that cause them to be weakly attracted to an


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