UTA, UT Southwestern Partner to Improve Cancer Radiation Therapy Delivery

Articles UTA Cancer 07-22-16

Mingwu Jin, UTA assistant professor of physics

Researchers at The University of Texas at Arlington and University of Texas Southwestern are collaborating on two projects to improve the accuracy of the delivery of cancer radiation therapies and minimize the exposure of healthy tissues.

For one project, Mingwu Jin, UTA assistant professor of physics, is working with Xun Jia and Yiping Shao of UT Southwestern’s Department of Radiation Oncology to simulate the effect in the body of heavy ion cancer therapies.

“Heavy ion cancer therapies are an option for terminal cancer where conventional radiation is not effective, but delivery of therapy has to be more precise as the radiation levels are much higher,” Jin said. “We are using UT Southwestern’s database on cancer patients to simulate monitoring the effects of the therapy in the human body, with an aim to develop a new real-time dose monitoring technique that improves the precision of delivery.”

This $100,000 two-year seed grant forms part of UT Southwestern’s initiative to build a heavy ion therapy facility and a National Particle Therapy Research Center, which would be the first of its kind in the United States. The study will prepare preliminary data for a larger scale study and ultimately a real patient trial.

Jin has also been awarded a $153,543 National Institutes of Health grant, in collaboration with Jing Wang and Xun Jia from UT Southwestern, to improve the quality of image-guided radiotherapy techniques that allow for direct visualization of the target and relevant anatomy. This technology enables physicians to monitor the dose delivered to patients and update their treatment as needed.

“As X-ray photons pass through the body there is a scatter effect that reduces the quality of the imaging as the photons do not move in a straight line,” Jin said. “Our project is to use a physics model that takes into account the effects of scatter to reconstruct the images used by physicians to estimate dosage needs for treatment.”

Click here to learn more about this study.