CT imaging is a critical part of treatment planning for radiation therapy. However, conventional CT does not always clearly show the edges of tumors in certain sites in the body. This can make it difficult to deliver targeted radiation therapy to tumors while sparing healthy tissue.

The Department of Human Oncology (DHO) at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health recently invested in a dual-energy CT scanner to improve tumor imaging. This cutting-edge technology is able to capture high-contrast images of areas that can be difficult to image with conventional CT.

Dr. Jessica Miller, DHO assistant professor, is leading research on the use of this dual-energy CT scanner in the liver and pancreas, two disease sites that are particularly challenging to image.

Miller, who joined the DHO faculty in 2013 after earning her PhD in medical physics at UW–Madison, recently received a $25,000 Ride Scholar Award in support of this research. The award is funded by proceeds from The Ride, a bicycling event that raises money for cancer research at the University of Wisconsin.

“The use of dual-energy CT in radiation therapy has been underexplored. Tumor delineation is just one of many projects that we hope to pursue to improve cancer treatment,” Miller says. “The generosity of those who donated to The Ride will help fund several dual-energy CT projects that we hope will significantly benefit cancer patients and improve treatment outcomes.”