Improving radiation therapies for cancer mathematically

Mar 05, 2014

In a paper published in December in the SIAM Journal on Scientific Computing, authors Li-Tien Cheng, Bin Dong, Chunhua Men, Xun Jia, and Steve Jiang propose a method to optimize radiation therapy treatments in cancer patients.

Radiation therapy is one of the primary methods used for , along with chemotherapy and surgery. While doses of are delivered to eliminate cancerous tissue, care is taken to keep radiation within acceptable levels so as not to affect neighboring tissues and organs. The most common type of therapy delivers high-energy radiation via a medical linear accelerator mounted on a rotating apparatus to adjust the direction, and a collimator to shape the beam of radiation. In the recently developed volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT), beams continuously deliver doses as the delivery device rotates around the patient. Enhancement of radiotherapy treatment is challenged by complexities of shape optimization, due to the mechanics of the equipment involved as well as the apertures of devices delivering the beams of radiation.

In this paper, the authors develop a variational model and associated numerical techniques for optimization of VMAT treatment plans. The method uses CT scans of patients—with important tissues and organs identified by image segmentation algorithms—to create an improved and customized treatment plan by constructing parameters for an optimal dose distribution in VMAT treatment. Mathematical methods such as binary level-set method for shape optimization are used. Tests have shown improved dose distributions in both model and clinical cases.

Explore further: Copying behavior in social groups may be governed by optimal control theory

More information: Binary Level-Set Shape Optimization Model and Algorithm for Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy in Radiotherapy Treatment, SIAM Journal on Scientific Computing, 35(6), B1321–B1340

Related Stories

World first trial to improve prostate cancer care

Nov 28, 2013

Researchers and clinicians from the University of Sydney and the Northern Sydney Cancer Centre are leading a world first clinical trial using a tracking system to improve prostate cancer radiotherapy treatment.

Recommended for you

Claims about the decline of the West are 'exaggerated'

1 hour ago

A new paper by Oxford researchers argues that some countries in Western Europe, and the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand now have birth rates that are now relatively close to replacement, that the underlying trend in ...

Bizarre 'platypus' dinosaur discovered

9 hours ago

Although closely related to the notorious carnivore Tyrannosaurus rex, a new lineage of dinosaur discovered in Chile is proving to be an evolutionary jigsaw puzzle, as it preferred to graze upon plants.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.