UBC Physics and Astronomy is involved in a broad range of medical physics research in the areas of radiation therapy, medical imaging, biomedical optics and radiation biophysics.
The ultimate aim of our research in radiation therapy group at BC Cancer is to develop more accurate and effective treatments in radiation medicine, primarily in cancer treatment but with applications in other areas of medicine as well. The primary research focus is on development of innovative treatment delivery solutions using linear accelerators for MV x-rays and electrons, particle accelerators for protons or heavy ions, as well as radio-isotopes. We also seek to develop new ways to improve the precision and accuracy of radiation dose measurement and simulation in complex clinical scenarios. Monte Carlo simulation techniques, artificial intelligence and deep learning are integral to this area of research. Medical imaging modalities including MRI, x-ray CT, PET, SPECT, ultrasound also play a large role in advancing our research in radiation medicine.
Members of the department are actively researching a variety of medical imaging techniques. A number of groups work on Magnetic Resonance Imaging. They investigate MR contrast mechanisms, develop advanced MR techniques, and carry out clinically applied MR research studies. MRI research is facilitated by having access to state-of-the-art MRI scanners at UBC MRI Research Centre. The Positron Emission Tomography (PET) research group works on technique development with a clinical focus on neurodegeneration. The Nuclear Medicine Imaging group (Quantitative Tomography Lab) focuses on quantitative PET and SPECT imaging towards improved diagnosis, prognosis, treatment response assessment and dosimetry especially in cancer patients.
The cancer imaging group at the BC Cancer Research Centre exploits the interaction of light at both the micro- and macro-scopic level to detect, delineate, grade and treat early (predominantly pre-invasive) cancers. The group is currently focused on early cancer management issues in the Lung, Cervix, Prostate, Breast and Skin.
Research in the radiation biophysics laboratory in the Department of Integrative Oncology at the BC Cancer Research Centre is focused on improving radiation and drug treatment of solid tumours and also includes studies into the biology and vasculature of solid tumours as well as methods of treating tumours and predicting their response to treatment.