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The role of medical physicists and the AAPM in the development of treatment
planning and optimization
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Developments in radiotherapy
physicists and the American Association of Physicists in Medicine are
reviewed, with emphasis on recent work in optimization. It is shown that medical physicists have played
a vital role in the creation of innovative treatment planning techniques throughout the past century,
most significantly since the advent of computerized tomography for three-dimensional (3D)
imaging and high-powered computers capable of 3D planning and optimization. Some early
advances in 3D planning made by physicists include development of novel planning algorithms,
beam’s-eye-view, virtual simulation, dose-volume histogram analysis tools, and bioeffect
modeling. Most of the recent developments have been driven by the need to develop
planning for conformal radiotherapy, especially intensity modulated radiation
therapy. These advances include inverse planning, handling the effects
of motion and uncertainty, biological planning, and multicriteria optimization.
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