Bolch and collaborators receive NIH grant to develop a new generation of nuclear medicine and CT patient dosimetry code


Congratulations to Dr. Wesley Bolch, J. Crayton Pruitt Family Department of Engineering professor, and collaborators at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York on their NIH grant entitled, MIRDCalc – A Community Tool for Deriving and Reporting Patient Organ Doses in Nuclear Medicine, Computed Tomography, and Hybrid Imaging.

Dosimetry refers to the science by which radiation dose is determined by measurement, calculation, or a combination of measurement and calculation.  Radiation dosimetry is the calculation of the absorbed dose in tissue resulting from exposure to ionizing radiation.

The assessment of radiation organ absorbed dose to patients plays a critical role in both the development and clinical use of radiopharmaceuticals for both diagnostic imaging (cancer/disease detection) and radiation therapy (cancer treatment). Dosimetry also provides the basis of imaging/treatment optimization, and its accessibility and maturation will help define personalized medicine as applied to medical imaging and nuclear therapies in the coming decades.

A variety of software codes exist for patient dosimetry in nuclear medicine, but they tend to reside within two extremes of functionality. At one end are more simplistic nuclear medicine dosimetry tools that merge animal-derived or personalized biodistribution data with standard models, a technique that has proved valuable historically but has seen minimal technological advancement. At the other end are complex nuclear medicine dosimetry codes that import patient-specific CT/PET/SPECT images and allow for accurate, but computationally intensive, Monte Carlo simulation-based dosimetry. The issue with these higher-end codes is that they are much more nuanced, resource-intensive, and tend to only reside within research-based medical institutions with expert support staff.

The collaboration between the University of Florida Department of Biomedical Engineering and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, a new generation of nuclear medicine patient dosimetry code will be developed and released at no cost to the imaging and clinical community.

The code – MIRDcalc – is built upon the universally available Microsoft Excel platform and can be used with an easy interactive interface or automated disk operating system command line. The database powering MIRDcalc stores all necessary information for implementing biodistribution-to-dosimetry calculations using the MIRD composition.

The MIRDcalc software will be a free tool providing dosimetry that meets current standards, and a platform for further innovations as well as a central framework for supporting a dosimetry user community. The team’s planned innovations address issues of personalization, uncertainty calculation, documentation, and other key considerations. A key feature of this partnership is the addition of CT organ dosimetry to MIRDcalc, which presently does not exist in any current nuclear medicine software code despite the universal adoption of combination PET-CT and the ever-increasing penetration of SPECT-CT scanners in diagnostic radiology and nuclear medicine.