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Speaks to Medical Physicists, Who Play Key Role in Cancer Diagnosis, Treatment

Embargoed for Release until 12:15 p.m. ET Aug. 3, 2016

Rebecca Taylor, PCI
312-558-1770 x122

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Aug. 3, 2016 – Providing insights into the Cancer Moonshot and other initiatives to accelerate cancer research and make more therapies available to patients, Douglas R. Lowy, M.D., acting director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), will lead a plenary session at the 58th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM).

Medical physicists play a vital role in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, through the development of novel imaging techniques, advancement of innovative therapy approaches, and ensuring the clinical use of imaging and radiation therapy are safe and effective. The NCI currently is funding several research initiatives on imaging and radiation therapy to better understand how to use immunotherapies in combination with targeted therapies and treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation.

“As medical physicists, we look forward to exploring ways in which our unique skills in the safe and accurate use of technology and radiation can advance the goals of the Cancer Moonshot,” said Bruce H. Curran, M.Eng., M.S., president of AAPM and associate professor of radiation oncology at VCU Health Systems, Richmond, VA. “We play a vital role as professionals involved not only in helping to treat cancer patients, but improving diagnosis and monitoring the response of cancer therapies during treatment.”

A longtime researcher, Dr. Lowy is one of the most highly cited authors in microbiology, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine. He received the 2007 Federal Employee of the Year Award from the Partnership for Public Service, the 2007 Dorothy P. Landon-American Association for Cancer Research Prize for Translational Cancer Research, the Sabin Gold Medal in 2011 and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation from President Obama in 2014, among others.

Dr. Lowy’s research focuses on papillomaviruses and the regulation of normal and neoplastic growth. In the 1980s he identified the oncogenes encoded by papillomaviruses and recently worked on papillomavirus vaccines and its life cycle.

Dr. Lowy’s plenary session, “NCI-Supported Research Activities: The Moonshot and More,” is scheduled for 12:15 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 3 at the AAPM meeting at Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington, D.C. For more information about Dr. Lowy and the AAPM annual meeting, visit http://www.aapm.org/meetings/2016AM.

About Medical Physicists
If you ever had a mammogram, CT, ultrasound, X-ray, MRI, PET scan, or have known someone treated for cancer, chances are reasonable that a medical physicist was working behind the scenes to make sure the imaging procedure was as effective as possible. Medical physicists are a key part of multi-disciplinary teams working to develop new imaging techniques, improve existing ones, and assure the safety of radiation used in medical procedures in radiology, radiation oncology, and nuclear medicine. They collaborate with radiation oncologists to design cancer treatment plans. They provide routine quality assurance and quality control on radiation equipment and procedures to ensure that cancer patients receive the prescribed dose of radiation therapy to the correct location. They also contribute to the development of physics-intensive therapeutic techniques, such as stereotactic radiosurgery and prostate seed implants for cancer, to name a few. The annual meeting is a great resource, providing guidance to physicists to implement the latest and greatest technology in a community hospital close to you.

About AAPM
The American Association of Physicists in Medicine (www.aapm.org) is a scientific, educational, and professional organization with more than 8,000 medical physicists. Headquarters are located in Alexandria, Virginia.