CancerCare Manitoba

The Division of Medical Physics, which has 16 physicists and close to fifty staff, residents and students, provides medical physics support to the Provincial Radiotherapy and Imaging programs and is directly responsible for the operation of the province wide Radiation Protection Program.

Researchers and students have access to our well-equipped electronics and ISO 9001 accredited machine shops as well as to state of the art clinical equipment at both CancerCare Manitoba and the two teaching hospitals in Winnipeg. The Division is well equipped with networked UNIX/Linux/VMS/PC computer workstations and servers and is linked to the university network via a 155 MBps ATM link.

The division is responsible for the commissioning, operation and maintenance of seven megavoltage treatment units (ranging in energy from 1.25 MeV to 23 MV), a 100-250 kV orthovoltage unit, a conventional simulator, a CT/Virtual simulator and a remote afterloading 370 GBq High Dose Rate (HDR) treatment unit. Six treatment planning systems, employing state of the art convolution and superposition algorithms to model the radiation transport through the 3D electron density map of the patient, are used to produce dose distributions which optimally conform to the treatment volume.

Physics staff also assist with the training of Radiation Therapists, Radiation Oncology and Radiology residents. Prostate Brachytherapy, Total Body Irradiation and Radiosurgery (using a state of the art GammaKnife) are also supported by the Radiation Therapy Physics Service. The Imaging Physics staff provide professional and technical support for equipment purchase, installation, accreditation and the ongoing evaluation of image quality in diagnostic imaging departments (general radiology, mammography, nuclear medicine, ultrasound and MRI) throughout the Province of Manitoba.

The Radiation Protection Service is a resource to the Province on matters of radiological health and is responsible for the regulation and verification of satisfactory performance of all medical x-ray units in Manitoba. They conduct radiation safety training and are also responsible for non-ionising radiation protection for therapeutic ultrasound, microwave, ultraviolet, lasers and radio frequency equipment used in medical, paramedical and public facilities.

Research is carried out in collaboration with colleagues in the Departments of Physics, Engineering, Radiology and Oncology and includes: - the study and development of novel brachytherapy and breast imaging and dosimetry techniques, the study of radiation transport using the Monte Carlo method, digital image processing, treatment optimization using neural networks, 3D ultrasound and the use of virtual reality to provide an immersive environment for radiotherapy treatment planning, treatment and teaching purposes.