Dr. Christiane Burton, a research associate with the CT Protocol Optimization Team, was recently awarded the Silvia Fedoruk prize at the Canadian Organization of Medical Physics 63rd annual scientific meeting. The Silvia Fedoruk prize is awarded to the best paper on a subject in the field of medical physics relating to work carried out mainly within a Canadian institution. Burton conducted her research at the Robarts Research Institute at Western University in London, Ontario, Canada.
The paper looked at energy subtraction angiography (ESA), an imaging method worked on in the 1980s at the University of Wisconsin with image quality considered poor relative to that of digital subtraction angiography (DSA), the reference standard in angiography. Burton specifically tried to determine if it was a technical or physical limitation that had initially hampered ESA and if that limitation could be overcome in a modern clinical environment. In an initial test, she found that ESA produced images of quantitatively similar quality to DSA, a contradiction of numerous previous studies. Following further investigation it was determined that scatter and detector electronic noise needed to be very low in order for energy subtraction angiography to produce images comparable to DSA, conditions not achievable in the past and difficult, though not impossible, to achieve at present. All of this suggests that ESA methods could offer a viable alternative to DSA when implemented under optimal conditions.
Burton also presented on this topic at the American Association of Physicists in Medicine annual conference in 2016, receiving a 3rd place award. The group is a strong contender to receive an NIH grant this year to continue their ESA work. Burton, who is currently volunteering with medical physics at University Hospital, will be taking part in the imaging committee at the Canadian Organization of Medical Physicists next year and hopes to serve as the postdoctoral representative on the Committee on Women in the University at UW–Madison.
More information about the Sylvia Fedoruk award can be found at the Canadian Organization of Medical Physicists website.