The role of medical physicists in developing stereotactic radiosurgery

Authors


Abstract

This article is a tribute to the pioneering medical physicists over the last 50years who have participated in the research, development, and commercialization of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) and stereotactic radiotherapy utilizing a wide range of technology. The authors have described the evolution of SRS through the eyes of physicists from its beginnings with the Gamma Knife™ in 1951 to proton and charged particle therapy; modification of commercial linacs to accommodate high precision SRS setups; the multitude of accessories that have enabled fine tuning patients for relocalization, immobilization, and repositioning with submillimeter accuracy; and finally the emerging technology of SBRT. A major theme of the article is the expanding role of the medical physicist from that of advisor to the neurosurgeon to the current role as a primary driver of new technology that has already led to an adaptation of cranial SRS to other sites in the body, including, spine, liver, and lung. SRS continues to be at the forefront of the impetus to provide technological precision for radiation therapy and has demonstrated a host of downstream benefits in improving delivery strategies for conventional therapy as well. While this is not intended to be a comprehensive history, and the authors could not delineate every contribution by all of those working in the pursuit of SRS development, including physicians, engineers, radiobiologists, and the rest of the therapy and dosimetry staff in this important and dynamic radiation therapy modality, it is clear that physicists have had a substantial role in the development of SRS and theyincreasingly play a leading role in furthering SRS technology.

Ancillary