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Dr. Elsayed Ali

The Ottawa Hospital Cancer Centre
Date of Live Presentation: Mon, 11-Feb-2019
Location: Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario


Image-guided radiation therapy of cancer: Seeing what you are treating.


About half of cancer patients receive radiation therapy as part of their overall cancer treatment. The radiation can be photons, electrons, protons, or carbon ions, among others. The radiation source can be external (e.g., from a clinical linear accelerator) or internal (e.g., from an implanted radioactive source). Sophisticated optimization algorithms are used to create digital treatment plans that maximize the radiation dose deposited in the cancer target while minimizing the radiation dose to the surrounding healthy tissues as much as reasonably achievable. The success of a radiation treatment strongly depends on accurately delivering the treatment as planned, with minimal geometric and dosimetric deviations. A large array of image guidance and patient positioning systems have been developed to enable accurate radiation treatment delivery. In this talk, I will give an overview of these systems and the role of the clinical medical physicist in the development and implementation of such systems, with examples from the research work done at The Ottawa Hospital Cancer Centre. In the last part of my talk, I will highlight the exciting new developments in image guidance, which are expected to cause a paradigm shift in how radiation therapy of cancer is delivered in the near future.

Short bio

Dr. Ali’s undergraduate training is in nuclear engineering. He completed his graduate studies in medical physics at Carleton university (MSc 2007, PhD 2012), followed by a two-year residency in radiation oncology physics at The Ottawa Hospital Cancer Centre. Since 2015, he has been a staff medical physicist at the same cancer centre. Dr. Ali is a member of the Canadian College of Physicist in Medicine (MCCPM), and holds academic appointments as an Assistant Professor at the Department of Radiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, and as an Adjunct Research Professor at the Department of Physics, Carleton University. He is currently a member of the Science Committee of the Canadian Organization of Medical Physicists (COMP), and a member of the Working Group for Imaging in Treatment Planning (WGITP) with the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM). He has previously served as a member of the AAPM Task Group 195 on Monte Carlo reference datasets for imaging research. The current focus of Dr. Ali’s research is on rapid-access palliative radiation therapy for cancer patients, cone beam CT imaging, dosimetric markers for radiation-induced early symptoms, and Monte Carlo code development and applications.

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