Medical physics

The Medical Physics Division of the Department of Radiation Oncology, VCU Massey Comprehensive Cancer Center, supports state-of-the-art and cutting edge radiation treatment through:

  • Investigation, implementation and maintenance of a wide array of advanced technologies used in cancer treatment, including medical imaging, treatment planning, and treatment delivery devices
  • Perpetual introduction and execution of relevant clinical research programs, latest trials, and protocols designed to continuously improve the efficacy and efficiency of the technologies used in cancer treatment
  • Maintenance of highest competent faculty and the program via administration of continuing education of regional, national, and international educational and credentialing standards
  • Program accreditation and credentialing by national bodies, such as American College of Radiology (ACR), Imaging and Radiation Oncology Core-Houston, and Commission on Accreditation of Medical Physics Educational Programs (CAMPEP)

In addition, the Medical Physics Division positively impacts cancer care both nationally and internationally through a long-running support of its CAMPEP-accredited Medical Physics Graduate Program, which offers PhD, MS, and Certificate degrees in Medical Physics. The program regularly attracts regional, national, and international students wishing to pursue a degree and career in medical physics. In addition, the division also offers a two-year CAMPEP-accredited Medical Physics Residency Program. Through these two educational programs, we are producing highly skilled medical physics workforce, on a continuing basis, for the benefit of cancer patients worldwide.

State-of-the-art technologies

We are proud to provide our patients with innovative and state-of-the-art programs in intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT), stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), magnetic resonance imaging-linear accelerator (MRI-linac) guided adaptive radiation therapy (MRgART), four-dimensional (4D) imaging and related treatment delivery techniques, surface guided radiation therapy (SGRT) and image guided adaptive brachytherapy (IGABT).

  • State-of-the-art MRI-linac system uses MRI to verify the target position and tracks in real-time during radiation delivery. This allows unprecedented level of targeting precision and on-line re-planning capabilities for the safest delivery of MRgART treatments.
  • State-of-the-art TrueBeam linac uses the most advanced cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT), BrainLab ExacTrac® X-ray, and IDENTIFY® SGRT systems for safest delivery of IMRT, SBRT, and SRS treatments.
  • State-of-the-art brachytherapy suites with two rooms that are in tandem with a 3T MRI simulator, equipped with the latest mobile CT, ultrasound, and high dose rate (HDR) digital after-loading technologies provide the most advanced IGABT treatment deliveries.
  • State-of-the-art positron emission tomography-computed tomography (PET-CT) and 3T MRI simulators, equipped with 4D imaging capabilities, allow the latest anatomic and functional imaging techniques, to help guide the most effective clinical decision-making, radiation treatments, and response assessment of cancer.

Pioneering research

The Medical Physics Division has an active and diverse research program. Medical Physics faculty members are engaged in variety of translational research projects that include:

  • Optimizing MRgART treatment
  • Optimizing IGABT treatment
  • Automation of treatment planning and delivery workflow through artificial intelligence
  • Developing MRI-only simulation process
  • Exploring Cold Atmospheric Plasma (CAP) technology for cancer therapy
  • Developing informatics and computing infrastructure for quality surveillance and outcome research

These research investigations are interdisciplinary, bringing the skills and insights of biomedical, nuclear and electrical engineers, computer scientists, molecular biologists, radiation oncologists, and medical imaging physicists to bear on radiation oncology problems. They are also highly translational in nature and closely integrated with our clinical programs benefiting VCU Massey Comprehensive Cancer Center patients while advancing cancer therapeutic research.