Clinical Research

Current projects

Quantitative Imaging Network (QIN)

Quantitative imaging is the practice of using recognizable features from medical images in order to calibrate them to assess changes that differ from normal. The goal of the Iowa QIN team is pursuing the development of tools for quantitative image analysis for both assessment of response and tumor targeting.

Four Aims guide the progress of this research, the most visible of them being the development of practical tools (qin.iibi.uiowa.)that allow clinicians to quantify the volume of tumors on PET scans using a “Just Enough Interaction approach”.

This corpus of research has enjoyed wide involvement between our department, Radiology, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Bioinformatics and Computational Biology.

Recent progress: PMID  25883122, PMID  27277044, PMID  27257542, PMID  28127586, PMID  27319286, PMID  26894356, PMID  26773162, PMID  25680593, PMID  25883122, PMID  28205306, PMID  28798963

Rotating Shield Brachytherapy

The advantage of HDR Brachytherapy is the ability to deliver a single high-dose of radiation in close proximity to the tumor. However, the radiation is distributed spherically around the catheter and may affect sensitive organs located near the tumor. Rotating shield brachytherapy (RSBT) is delivered through a catheter with the ability to aim the beam at the tumor while sparing the surrounding healthy tissue. Development of the device and the algorithms supporting its use involved a close association between faculty and staff of the Departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Radiation Oncology. Progress toward a marketable product is progressing well:

PMID 28517084, PMID  28518488, PMID  23339848, PMID  23635268, PMID  23680601, PMID  24320489, PMID  24784369, PMID  25370623, PMID  26429274, PMID  26520749, PMID  28843372, PMID  28744870

Radiation Safety

Linear Accelerators are able to deliver powerful doses of radiation quickly and accurately. With such power and immediacy in treatment an error in treatment delivery may severely harm a patient, underlying the importance of ensuring the right plan is delivered to the patient.

In order to diminish the tedium and fatigue associated with manually checking each patient chart for each treatment, physicists in our department have helped develop “ChartAlert” a plan checking software that automates routine tasks. It integrates the functions of chart checking and plan checking into a single system and can be developed for use in any clinic irrespective of their treatment planning software choice.

In simulations, “ChartAlert” was able to perform the plan checks in 3 seconds compared to the 7 minutes it would take to complete the check manually. “ChartAlert” is being developed in collaboration with University of Nebraska, University of Wisconsin-Madison, the Great River Medical Center, and Hall-Perrine Cancer Center.

Oral Mucositis research

Oral Mucositis (mouth sores) caused by chemo-radiation is one of the most common side-effects for patients with Oral Cavity Cancer. A recent Phase I study concluded in our department determined the safety of the superoxide dismutase mimetic GC4419. Two doses will be trialed in a Phase II study to determine the efficacy of the treatment.