College of Engineering University of Wisconsin-Madison
Decorative header to link to Department of Engineering Physics

Graphic of the MS&E NEWS newsletter The Fountain
EPISODE: The Engineering Physics Department Newsletter

 

Spring/Summer 2003
Featured articles

Taming turbulence: Understanding the equations

Exploiting friction can make MEMS work

New boundaries: Experiments verify ion behavior in plasmas

Engineers develop new prostate-cancer treatment plan

Conference to address state energy crisis


Regular Features

Message from the chair

Department news

New faculty: Joseph Bisognano and Dennis Whyte

Student news

 

spacer Button for homepage of EPisode newsletter Button to obtain BACK ISSUES Button to CONTACT US Button to JOIN OUR MAILING LIST Button that connects to UW Foundation page for online giving  
 

Engineers develop new prostate-cancer treatment plan

Photo of Associate Professors Doug Henderso and Bruce Thomadsen

Associate Professors Doug Henderson (left) and Bruce Thomadsen are pursuing patents on their method to speed treatment planning for prostate-cancer patients.
(33K JPG)

Decorative initial cap Tn one method of treating prostate cancer, called brachytherapy, doctors implant 50 to 100 radioactive iodine-125 or palladium-103 “seeds” (pictured with the penny below), each just a few millimeters long, in the gland to eradicate diseased tissue. To plan the seeds’ placement for maximum effectiveness and minimal damage to healthy tissue, they map an ultrasound view of the prostate on a 3-D grid, and use optimization software to calculate several sets of possible seed locations and determine which configuration will work best.

Photo of radioactive "seeds" used to treat prostate-cancer
Radioactive seeds used to treat prostate cancer
(30K JPG)

Inspired by a reactor physics technique called adjoint—or “backward”—transport, Associate Professor Douglass Henderson, Medical Physics Associate Professor Bruce Thomadsen and graduate student Sua Yoo have developed a method that could reduce the time of this treatment-planning step from as long as 40 minutes to a couple of seconds. Using the adjoint information, they assign a numerical rank to each possible seed location, based on its potential to deliver radiation where it’s needed. The greedy algorithm optimization software then computes the best seed arrangement. This method also could make it easier for doctors to plan treatments using combinations of seeds with varied characteristics.

 


For help with this webpage: webmaster@engr.wisc.edu.

Copyright 2003 The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System

Date last modified: Monday, 16-July-2003 15:43:00 CDT
Date created: 14-July-2003

 

spacer