Journal of Medical Physics
: 2014  |  Volume : 39  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 127--130

News and Events

T Ganesh 
 Department of Radiation Oncology, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurgaon, Haryana, India

Correspondence Address:
T Ganesh
Department of Radiation Oncology, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurgaon, Haryana

How to cite this article:
Ganesh T. News and Events.J Med Phys 2014;39:127-130

How to cite this URL:
Ganesh T. News and Events. J Med Phys [serial online] 2014 [cited 2023 Mar 28 ];39:127-130
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 A new radioprotective drug for reducing radiation induced side effects during radiotherapy

A compound called 3,3'- diindolylmethane, or DIM, derived from cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower may provide protection against the side effects due to radiation therapy. According to a study by researchers from Georgetown University and Wayne State University in the US and Soochow University and the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, China, rats injected with DIM survived longer than those that did not when exposed to lethal amount of radiation. The rats received DIM injection before or up to 24 h after radiation. The rats were treated with a daily injection of DIM for two weeks.

The researchers point out that a diet rich in cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower is linked to a reduced risk of several human cancers. They say that DIM is already being investigated for its potential to prevent cancer. DIM appeared to work by stimulating repair of the DNA damage caused by radiation and stopping the cell "suicide" that occurs after radiation. They suggest that DIM could be used for reducing radiation sickness in people accidentally exposed to radiation and to prevent or reduce the damage to normal tissue caused by radiotherapy. They say DIM can be given to humans safely without side effects.

If DIM proved effective against radiation damage in humans, it is likely it would be developed as a medicine.


 Accelerator on a chip

Scientists from Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University have developed a technology using a laser to accelerate electrons at a rate 10 times higher than conventional technology in a nano-structured glass chip smaller than a grain of rice. Still at the experimental stage and a long way from the real-world use, the technology has already achieved an acceleration gradient of 300 MeV/meter. When fully developed, it would achieve a staggering 1 BeV/meter.

In the accelerator-on-a-chip experiments, electrons are first accelerated to near light speed in a conventional accelerator. Then they are focused into a tiny, half-micron-high channel within a fused silica glass chip just half a millimeter long. The channel had been patterned with precisely spaced nanoscale ridges. Infrared laser light shining on the pattern generates electrical fields that interact with the electrons in the channel to boost their energy. Turning the accelerator on a chip into a full-fledged tabletop accelerator will require a more compact way to get the electrons up to speed before they enter the device.

From: accelerator-on-a-chip.aspx

 Digital infrared thermography for early detection of diabetes

The Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR), Kalpakkam is looking at ways to extend the application of its digital infrared thermography-currently used for screening of cancers-to screening vascular disorders and other disorders including diabetes. The technology, which has numerous applications in the industry, is being utilized in the medical arena for early detection of cancer tumors in a noninvasive manner. Plans are there to extend its applications for vascular disorders to study the blood flow pattern and deep vein thrombosis and also for early detection of diabetes.

From: tp-tamilnadu/cancer-screening-technology-to-be- extended- to-diabetes/ article5259595.ece

 A new Web site opens up focusing on quality and safety in radiotherapy

Quality and safety are key considerations underlying the effective delivery of radiation therapy. For medical physicists working in this field, ongoing training in these areas is imperative. With a mission to improve quality and safety in radiotherapy, a new Web site called come up to ease this learning process by providing high-quality educational videos that deliver practical clinical training.

It is a vetted peer-to-peer learning site dedicated to both general education as well as application-specific training. Because it is peer-to-peer, one can get real clinical information from people who actually use the information clinically.

Besides creating and sharing series of videos from the ones available in the library with colleagues and friends, users can share their own creations to the world. The Web site has over 400 registered users, 320 workshop attendees from 25 countries and has hits from more than 100 countries across the globe.


 New taxonomy developed for incident reporting in radiotherapy

Incident reporting is a very valuable learning and correcting tool in radiotherapy treatment delivery. The need for better incident reporting has become more evident as radiation therapy technology becomes more complex and powerful. Besides improving the quality of practice at the facility using it, incident reporting can also improve healthcare quality more globally as data about incidents are shared across institutions.

Though incident reporting has immense value in improving the quality, it remains a tricky affair especially if radiation oncology facilities are not even using the same language to describe incidents. The existing taxonomy models for classifying radiation therapy incidents have certain weaknesses. A research team led by Catarina Lam from the radiation medicine program at University Health Network's Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto has developed a new taxonomy designed to create a common language for describing the type and severity of radiation therapy incidents. They hope that, ultimately, the taxonomy could be used throughout Canada.

Instead of focusing on technical issues and equipment performance, the Canadian team emphasized treatment process issues and human factors that could lead to incidents. It identified seven classes of incidents: incident nature, impact, incident type, stage of origin, stage of discovery, contributing factors, and preventive strategies. As a next step, the newly developed taxonomy will be evaluated by radiation therapy practices across Canada to further refine the design and to facilitate adoption throughout the country.

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 Research student develops radiotherapy monitor using glass jewellery beads

Shakardokht Jafari, a medical physics PhD student pursuing her research work in radiation dosimetry at the University of Surrey, United Kingdom (UK), has developed a novel way of monitoring radiotherapy doses using inexpensive glass jewellery beads, opening up new possibilities for cancer treatment around the world. Based in the University's Center for Nuclear and Radiation Physics, Shakardokht's research project has been able to find an alternative to commonly used dosimeters, overcoming both their high cost and many other limitations. Rather than using optical fibers in dosimetry, as in the case of another research work from the university, she considered other forms of glass that are robust and offer good spatial resolution in three dimensions, rather than using glass fibers, which are too fragile for practical use and can only be used to measure radiation in one dimension.

Shakardokht found that the glass beads enabled a higher level of accuracy, with less variation of results caused by external factors, and a better linear response over a wide dynamic range. She also found that the light sensitivity of beads-which could potentially cause the radiation dosage to be overestimated-was drastically reduced by storing them in the dark following an initial baking process. Measured by a thermoluminescence dosimetry (TLD) reader commonly used in most hospitals, the glass beads also have a "fading rate" (whereby the measurement information is lost) of only 10% compared with between 25 and 60% for other materials.

Shakardokht is now planning to test her dosimeter in the national dosimetry audit program being led by the Royal Surrey County Hospital and is currently approaching participating centers around the UK.

She plans to return back to Afghanistan after completing her PhD to establish the country's first radiotherapy center since the war, in collaboration with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

From: develops-radiotherapy-monitor-using-glass-jewellery-beads

 A new X-ray device images soft tissues with clarity

Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Massachusetts General Hospital have developed a new portable X-ray device that can provide images of unprecedented quality and soft tissue details. The new system does not expose patients to much radiation.

The new machine in its experimental stage utilizes "a nano-structured surface with an array of tiny tips," each one of those micron-sized tips emitting its own beam of electrons. Those beams pass through a microstructured plate and are converted into X-rays. The resulting wider and more even spread of beams is what makes it possible for the machine to image soft tissues, without the need for contrast agents.

Additionally, unlike a conventional thermionic X-ray machine, the new device can be quickly turned on and off without needing time to heat up. The current prototype unit that could potentially improve the resolution of X-ray imagery by a factor of 100 with hardware that costs orders of magnitude less is reportedly about the size of a shoebox, making it quite portable.


 Mexico witnesses another radiation accident

On December 2, 2013 a truck carrying a spent-up telecobalt source was hijacked along with the dangerous radioactive source estimated to be 3000 curies strength in Mexico State. The source was being transported from a clinic in Tijuana town close to Mexico-USA border to the capital city Mexico for safe disposal. Hijackers stole the truck in Tepojaco near Mexico City and later abandoned it near the town of Hueypoxtla in Mexico State, very close to where the truck was stolen 2 days after the incident. The source was removed from its shielding and was lying among crops in a field near the town of Hueypoxtla. The category 1 source was recovered using a robot on December 10. It was intact and undamaged. There was no contamination to the surrounding area.


 Wrong brachytherapy treatment delivery in 100 patients

Tokai University Hospital in Kanagawa Prefecture in Japan disclosed on December 25, 2013 that 100 patients who received brachytherapy treatment were treated with a positional inaccuracy of 3 cm. The hospital said the errors were caused by a problem with medical devices used in the procedure. An investigation board has been setup by the hospital to determine what exactly went wrong. The patients were all women, ranging in age from 30 to 89, who underwent treatment for uterine cancer between May 2007 and November 2013.

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 Report of International Commission on Radiological Protection Task Group 84

ICRP has published its Report of Task Group 84 on Initial Lessons Learned from the Nuclear Power Plant Accident in Japan vis-ΰ-vis the ICRP System of Radiological Protection. Notable among a list of many actions recommended by the Task Group 84 to be taken by the commission include the following: (i) radiation risk coefficients of potential health effects be properly interpreted, (ii) any confusion on protection quantities and units be resolved, (iii) the potential hazard from the intake of radionuclides into the body be properly interpreted, and (iv) recommendations on public protection levels (including infant, children, pregnant women, and their expected offspring) and on related issues (such as, categorizing public exposures due to an accident, transiting from an emergency to an existing situation, and rehabilitating evacuated areas) be consistent and understood.

 American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM)

AAPM's has uploaded 1188 videos in as of March 16, 2014. AAPM is in the process of uploading the entire Virtual Library to this Web site. When all past meetings are uploaded, these presentations will be a valuable toolkit for all practicing medical physicists. It is interesting to note that next to United States, India has had the maximum number of plays of these videos from the Web site.

From: /3902-aapmnews.pdf.

 Cancer: Low-dose gamma radiation shows promise

Researchers from German Cancer Research Centre and the University of Hyderabad have found a novel antitumor role of low dose of gamma radiation in mice as well as human subjects of pancreatic cancer. When mice having pancreatic tumors irradiated to low dose of gamma radiation (2 Gy), 20 times less than dose normally required for cancer treatment, it significantly triggered T-cell immune responses and reduced tumor growth. In a human clinical study, patients in advanced stage of pancreatic cancer were irradiated locally with 2 Gy dose of gamma radiation in a therapeutic setting and it produced similar results. Macrophages played an indispensible role in augmenting T-cell-aided immunity against established and solid pancreatic tumors.

From: dose-gamma-radiation-shows-promise/article5657268.ece?homepage = true

 Publications of interest from IAEA

Postgraduate Medical Physics Academic Programmes

Training Course Series 56


Dosimetry in diagnostic radiology for pediatric patients

IAEA Human Health Series No. 24

The document provides recommendations specific to measurement and interpretation of radiation dose to children as a result of undergoing diagnostic radiological examinations. It includes dosimetry methodologies for general radiography, fluoroscopy, and computer tomography for both phantom and patient measurements.


Quantitative nuclear medicine imaging: concepts, requirements, and methods

IAEA Human Health Reports No. 9

This publication reviews the current state of the art of image quantification and provides a solid background of tools and methods to medical physicists and other related professionals who are faced with quantification of radionuclide distribution in clinical practice. It describes and analyses the physical effects that degrade image quality and affect the accuracy of quantification and describes methods to compensate for them in planar, single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), and positron emission tomography (PET) images.


IAEA Syllabus for the Education and Training of Radiation Oncologists Endorsed by the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) and the European Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ESTRO)

Training Course Series No. 36




RAD 2014-International Conference on Radiation and Radiation Dosimetry in various fields of research

Dates: May 27-30, 2014

Place: Nis, Serbia

Conference E-mail: [email protected]

Conference Web

 8 th European Conference on Medical Physics, 2014

Dates: Sep 11-13, 2014

Place: Athens, Greece

Hosted by: Hellenic Association of Medical Physics (HAMP) together with the European Federation of Organizations for Medical Physics (EFOMP).

For further details:


 35 th Annual Conference of Association of Medical Physicists of India

Dates: November 20-22, 2014

Venue: Department of Radiotherapy and Oncology, Rural Medical College (PIMS-DU), Loni Bk, Ahmednagar District (Maharashtra), India.

Hosted by: Association of Medical Physicists of India, Western Chapter.

Web site