I might be developing new medical devices such as a scanner that diagnoses and treats cancer just by pointing it towards the patient, like in Star Trek.
A: I imagine that in 100 years from now, patients will not be treated with whatever standard treatment is normally prescribed but instead, their symptoms will trigger very specific screening to help the medical personnel learn more about the disease in the individual patient. From there, we would prescribe the best treatment for this patient, based on the size, location, blood supply, age of the [eye] tumor, genetic make-up and whatever else researchers will come up with by then. Therapy will span radiation therapy, chemical therapy, as well as biological therapy, hopefully greatly increasing our life expectancy and living quality.
As a physicist with a passion for nuclear medicine and radiation therapy applications, I imagine that I will still apply physical concepts (understanding interactions of particles on a molecular, atomic and nuclear level and manipulating them for a desired outcome) to the improvement of medicine. For example, I might be developing new medical devices such as a scanner that diagnoses and treats cancer just by pointing it towards the patient, like in Star Trek.
A: Currently, I am a research scientist at TRIUMF and the manager of the TRIUMF Proton Therapy facility, a collaboration between TRIUMF, the UBC Eye Care Centre and the British Columbia Cancer Agency. Proton therapy is a form of radiation therapy that treats cancer. It is incredibly precise, sparing the healthy tissue around the tumor from excess damage.
In Vancouver, we have been treating patients with eye cancer for the last 20 years who, before the advent of this treatment, would most likely have had their affected eye removed.
My work and research covers the improvement of proton therapy delivery by utilizing medical isotopes that appear as side products, and the production of medical isotopes for general purposes, including the screening of cancer and its potential metastases before proton therapy.
My hope is that my work will be part of the vast research currently being carried out to enable personalized medicine in the future.