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Oct 25, 2021

Closing Highlights: IEEE NSS-MIC RTSD 2021

- By York Haemisch

Dr York Haemisch, our Director Medical and Research Markets, concludes his series of reports from this year’s virtual IEEE Nuclear Science Symposium and Medical Imaging Conference and 28th International Symposium on Room-Temperature Semiconductor Detectors.

It’s been a long and rewarding week at IEEE, but with the RTSD and NSS talks over, the MIC track continued with two parallel sessions on Imaging in Radiation Therapy and Motion Correction and Image Enhancement. 

Rafiqul Islam and his colleagues from Tuhoku University, Japan, focused on the monitoring and range verification of hadron therapy in the first of these sessions. This form of radiation therapy uses particles  – protons or light ions – which have the advantage that they release most of their energy in very small volume, known as the Bragg peak, inside the body, therefore allowing for very targeted therapies. However, the therapy brings with it the challenge of determining the position of the Bragg peak, correcting for the motion of the patient and the position of the organs.

The approach to this problem, as described by Rafiqul Islam and the Tuhoku team, was to use spectral analysis of the signal of 13N produced in the Bragg region by the ion beam captured with a dual headed PET scanner. By doing so, they could reach an accuracy of about 8 mm. Most of the other talks in this session demonstrated different methods of establishing the Bragg peak position by, for example, prompt γ or charged fragments imaging. This remains a very relevant field and we are sure to see further progress in the future, and this will include using X-ray imaging photon counting detectors.

The MIC sessions concluded with my highlight of the day, an overview presentation on recent and future developments of imaging in radiation therapy by Professor Katia Parodi, Head of the Dept. of Medical Physics at LMU, here in Munich, and current editor in chief of Physics in Medicine and Biology (PMB).

Professor Parodi’s talk covered, along with many other approaches, the assessment of tissue properties in relation to their stopping power for therapy beams using dual energy CT.

This approach could be extended, with more energy levels, and perhaps technically simplified, with one CT tube instead of two, by using photon counting CT.

Eight days of IEEE have come to an end, but the closing of this thoroughly enjoyable event was mitigated by an invitation to next year’s IEEE NSS MIC RTSD in Milan, where we all hope to meet in person again and enjoy the opportunity of live discussions, with real cappuccinos, and perhaps a beer together!