This page includes the titles and abstracts of the 10 most recent publications by members of the Radiation Physics Department. A full list of past publications can be found on the link below.

Advanced neuroimaging at Hull gets a big lift

Lawrence Kenning, Martin Pickles, Richard List, GE Signa Pulse

In August 2020, Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust upgraded a Discovery™ MR750 3.0T with a 60 cm bore to a SIGNA™ Premier 3.0T with a 70 cm bore via the SIGNA™ Lift program. The increase in bore size allows us to accommodate more patients in our 3.0T scanner, particularly those with a larger body habitus and patients that are anxious or claustrophobic. Making the leap from 60 cm to 70 cm has traditionally led to a compromise in gradient performance. As a tertiary institution, where complex and difficult cases are referred from other hospitals, it was imperative to maintain the same high-quality imaging as the 60 cm bore Discovery™ MR750. Due to hardware and software improvements, the largerbore SIGNA™ Premier can maintain or even surpass the image quality of the Discovery™ MR750.

A Single-Pot Template Reaction Towards a Manganese-Based T1 Contrast Agent

Dr. Sellamuthu Anbu Dr. Sabrina H. L. Hoffmann Dr. Fabio Carniato Dr. Lawrence Kenning Dr. Thomas W. Price Dr. Timothy J. Prior Prof. Mauro Botta Dr. Andre F. Martins Dr. Graeme J. Stasiuk, Angewandte Chemie International Edition (2021).

Manganese-based contrast agents (MnCAs) have emerged as suitable alternatives to gadolinium-based contrast agents (GdCAs). However, due to their kinetic lability and laborious synthetic procedures, only a few MnCAs have found clinical MRI application. In this work, we have employed a highly innovative single-pot template synthetic strategy to develop a MnCA, MnLMe, and studied the most important physicochemical properties in-vitro. MnLMe displays optimized r1 relaxivities at both medium (20 and 64 MHz) and high magnetic fields (300 and 400 MHz) and an enhanced r1b=21.1 mM?1?1 (20 MHz, 298 K, pH 7.4) upon binding to BSA (Ka=4.2x10?M?1). In vivo studies show that MnLMe is cleared intact into the bladder through renal excretion and has a prolonged blood half-life compared to the commercial GdCA Magnevist. MnLMe shows great promise as a novel MRI contrast agent.
Aims: The aim of this work is to report on the tumour control probability (TCP) of a UK cohort of lung stereotactic ablative radiotherapy patients (n = 198) for a range of dose and fractionations common in the UK. Materials and methods: TCP values for 3 (54 Gy), 5 (55 and 60 Gy) and 8 (50 Gy) fraction (#) schemes were calculated with the linear-quadratic Marsden TCP model using the Biosuite software. Results: TCP values of 100% were computed for the 3 # and for 5 # (α/β = 10 Gy) cohorts; reduced to 99% (range 97–100) for the 5 # cohort only when an α/β of 20 Gy was used. The average TCP value for the 50 Gy in 8 # regime was 97% (range 92–99, α/β = 10 Gy) and 64% (range 48–79, α/β = 20 Gy). Statistical significant differences were observed between the α/β of 10 Gy versus 20 Gy groups and between all data grouped by fraction. Conclusion: TCPs achievable with current planning techniques in the UK have been presented. The ultra-conservative 50 Gy in 8 # scheme returns a significantly lower TCP than the other regimes.

Optimisation of tube voltage range (kVp) for AP abdomen, pelvis and spine imaging of average patients with a digital radiography (DR) imaging system using a computer simulator

Craig Steven Moore, Tim Wood, Stephen Balcam, Liam Needler, Tim Guest, Wee Ping Ngu, Lee Wun Chong, John Saunderson and Andrew Beavis, Br J Radiol 2020; 93: 20200565.

Objectives: To investigate via computer simulation, an optimised tube voltage (kVp) range for caesium iodide (CsI)-based digital radiography (DR) of the abdomen, pelvis and lumbar spine.
Methods: Software capable of simulating abdomen, pelvis and spine radiographs was used. Five evaluators graded clinical image criteria in images of 20 patients at tube voltages ranging from 60 to 120 kVp in 10 kVp increments. These criteria were scored blindly against the same patient reconstructed at a specific reference kVp. Linear mixed effects analysis was used to evaluate image scores for each criterion and test for statistical significance.
Results: Score was dependent on tube voltage and image criteria; both were statistically significant. All criteria for all anatomies scored very poorly at 60 kVp. Scores for abdomen, pelvis and spine imaging peaked at 70, 70 and 100 kVp, respectively, but other kVp values were not significantly poorer.
Conclusions: Results indicate optimum tube voltages of 70 kVp for abdomen and pelvis (with an optimum range 70–120 kVp), and 100 kVp (optimum range 80–120 kVp) for lumbar spine.
Advances in knowledge: There are no recommendations for optimised tube voltage parameters for DR abdomen, pelvis or lumbar spine imaging. This study has investigated and recommended an optimal tube voltage range.

Validation of in- house knowledge- based planning model for advance- stage lung cancer patients treated using VMAT radiotherapy

Tambe NS, Pires IM, Moore CS, Cawthorne C, Beavis A, The British Journal of Radiology 2020 93:1106

OBJECTIVES: Radiotherapy plan quality may vary considerably depending on planners experience and time constraints. The variability in treatment plans can be assessed by calculating the difference between achieved and the optimal dose distribution. The achieved treatment plans may still be suboptimal if there is further scope to reduce organs-at-risk doses without compromising target coverage and deliverability. This study aims to develop a knowledge-based planning (KBP) model to reduce variability of volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) lung plans by predicting minimum achievable lung volume-dose metrics.
METHODS: Dosimetric and geometric data collected from 40 retrospective plans were used to develop KBP models aiming to predict the minimum achievable lung dose metrics via calculating the ratio of the residual lung volume to the total lung volume. Model accuracy was verified by replanning 40 plans. Plan complexity metrics were calculated using locally developed script and their effect on treatment delivery was assessed via measurement.
RESULTS: The use of KBP resulted in significant reduction in plan variability in all three studied dosimetric parameters V5, V20 and mean lung dose by 4.9% (p = 0.007, 10.8 to 5.9%), 1.3% (p = 0.038, 4.0 to 2.7%) and 0.9?Gy (p = 0.012, 2.5 to 1.6Gy), respectively. It also increased lung sparing without compromising the overall plan quality. The accuracy of the model was proven as clinically acceptable. Plan complexity increased compared to original plans; however, the implication on delivery errors was clinically insignificant as demonstrated by plan verification measurements. :
CONCLUSION: Our in-house model for VMAT lung plans led to a significant reduction in plan variability with concurrent decrease in lung dose. Our study also demonstrated that treatment delivery verifications are important prior to clinical implementation of KBP models. :
ADVANCES IN KNOWLEDGE: In-house KBP models can predict minimum achievable lung dose-volume constraints for advance-stage lung cancer patients treated with VMAT. The study demonstrates that plan complexity could increase and should be assessed prior to clinical implementation.

Use of a computer simulator to investigate optimized tube voltage for chest imaging of average patients with a digital radiography (DR) imaging system

Craig Moore, Tim Wood, Ged Avery, Steve Balcam, Liam Needler, Hiten Joshi, Najeeb Ahmed, John Saunderson, Andrew Beavis, Br J Radiol 2019; 92: 20190470.

Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate via computer simulation a proposed improvement to clinical practice by deriving an optimized tube voltage (kVp) range for digital radiography (DR) chest imaging. Methods: A digitally reconstructed radiograph algorithm was used which was capable of simulating DR chest radiographs containing clinically relevant anatomy. Five experienced image evaluators graded clinical image criteria, i.e. overall quality, rib, lung, hilar, spine, diaphragm and lung nodule in images of 20 patients at tube voltages across the diagnostic energy range. These criteria were scored against corresponding images of the same patient reconstructed at a specific reference kVp. Evaluators were blinded to kVp. Evaluator score for each criterion was modelled with a linear mixed effects algorithm and compared with the score for the reference image. Results: Score was dependent on tube voltage and image criteria in a statistically significant manner for both. Overall quality, hilar, diaphragm and spine criteria performed poorly at low and high tube voltages, peaking at 80–100 kVp. Lung and lung nodule demonstrated little variation. Rib demonstrated superiority at low kVp. Conclusion: A virtual clinical trial has been performed with simulated chest DR images. Results indicate mid-range tube voltages of 80–100 kVp are optimum for average adults. Advances in knowledge: There are currently no specific recommendations for optimized tube voltage parameters for DR chest imaging. This study, validated with images containing realistic anatomical noise, has investigated and recommended an optimal tube voltage range.

IPEM Topical Report: an evidence and risk assessment based analysis of the efficacy of quality assurance tests on fluoroscopy units—part I; dosimetry and safety

M Worrall, D Shaw, C Baker, P Charnock, J Fazakerley, I Honey, G Iball, M Koutalonis, M Price, C Renaud, A Rose and T Wood, Worrall M, Shaw D, Baker C, Charnock P, Fazakerley J, Honey I, Iball GR, Koutalonis M, Price M, Renaud C, Rose A. IPEM Topical Report: An evidence and risk assessment based analysis of the efficacy of quality assurance tests on fluoroscopy units–part I; dosimetry and safety. Physics in Medicine & Biology. 2019 Aug 19.

This work aims to assess the efficacy of x-ray quality assurance tests undertaken on fluoroscopy units in the UK. Information was gathered on the results of dosimetry and safety tests recommended by the reports of the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine, and those additionally undertaken by medical physics departments. The assessment of efficacy considers the frequency with which a test result breaches the remedial level or other relevant threshold where applicable. The third quartile of those results exceeding the remedial level or threshold is used to estimate the severity of such a breach in terms of potential impact on patient dose and image quality. A risk assessment approach is then used to recommend to what degree, if any, the test should be included in an on-going test regimen. Data was analysed from 468 testing sessions to 336 unique fluoroscopy units throughout the UK. Across all tests, the rate with which the remedial level was exceeded varied from 0%–29.5%, with severity ranging from little or none to major degradation to image quality or significant increase on population dose. Where possible, the data has also been used to produce representative ranges for the results of dosimetric tests. These could be useful as an up to date comparator for those sites considering the purchase of or commissioning new equipment. Overall the results indicate a wide range for the efficacy of those tests undertaken at present; this can be used to review local test protocols and to inform future changes to national guidance in the UK. The results also highlight some tests where measurement technique varies significantly throughout the UK, making any valid comparison difficult. This may indicate a need for further guidance on how best to undertake these tests.

The usefulness of large sample size patient dose audits for optimisation of CT automatic exposure control (AEC) settings.

Craig S.Moore, Tim J. Wood, John R. Saunderson Andrew W. Beavis, J. Radiol. Prot. 39 (2019) 938–949 (12pp)

The aim of this study was to demonstrate the usefulness of large sample size patient dose audits for optimisation of CT automatic exposure control (AEC) settings, even when the investigation is limited to only three scanners at a single institution. Pre-optimisation patient dose audits of common CT examinations (n > 200 for each protocol) on three CT scanners (two Philips Brilliance and one Toshiba Aquilion) using radiology information system (RIS) data were conducted showing sub-optimal CT AEC performance on the Toshiba scanner. Based on these results, an optimisation exercise was carried out on the non-optimally performing scanner by phantom measurement and investigation of system configuration. Post-optimisation patient dose audits were subsequently carried out to assess the success of the optimisation exercise demonstrating standardisation of doses; median dose-length-product values were reduced by up to 43% on the sub-optimal scanner without any adverse effect on clinical image quality. This study has demonstrated that large sample patient dose audits using RIS data can be instrumental in identifying and rectifying sub-optimal CT AEC performance, even when the investigation is limited to only three scanners at a single institution.

A practical method to calibrate and optimise automatic exposure control devices for computed radiography (CR) and digital radiography (DR) imaging systems using the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) metric

Craig S Moore, Tim J Wood, Steven Jones, John R Saunderson and Andrew W Beavis, Biomed. Phys. Eng. Express 5 (2019) 035027

We have established in recent virtual clinical trials that signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) is the most appropriate metric for calibrating AEC devices used with digital imaging systems for chest, abdomen, pelvis and spine radiography. However, the practical calibration of such devices is not straightforward. The purpose of this study was to expand on previous work by developing a practical method for AEC calibration using the validated SNR metric that may be used by medical physicists in the field for phosphor plate radiography (CR) and direct digital radiography (DR- wireless and integrated) imaging systems. This methodology used a uniform tissue equivalent phantom (Poly-methyl methacrylate (PMMA)) so comparison was made with an installation vendor’s method of using copper plates. System transfer properties (STP) of each system were derived to linearise all images required for analyses. All STP correction was done in real time. The relationship between detector air kerma (DAK) and STP corrected SNR was then derived at four tube voltages (60, 80, 100 and 120 kVp) and using this relationship, together with the target value of the calibration metric (SNRtarget), it was possible to calculate theDAKrequired at each tube voltage to derive a calibration curve for each system; CR systems exhibited a linear increase with kVp,DRsystems exhibited a ‘U’ shape. The curve derived using the vendor’s method was not considered optimised because it did not hold SNR constant. This work has demonstrated that a relatively simple method to calibrate AEC devices, using an easily accessible tissue equivalent phantom, can be used in the field in real time by medical physicists working with installation engineers. AEC calibration curves that produce clinically adequate image quality with acceptable patient dose have been installed in our radiology department for CR and DRsystems using the methodology described in this paper.

A patient tumour-on-a-chip system for personalised investigation of radiotherapy based treatment regimens

R. Kennedy, D. Kuvshinov, A. Sdrolia, E. Kuvshinova, K. Hilton, S. Crank, A. W. Beavis, V. Green & J. Greenman, R. Kennedy, D. Kuvshinov, A. Sdrolia, E. Kuvshinova, K. Hilton, S. Crank, A. W. Beavis, V. Green & J. Greenman, A patient tumour-on-a-chip system for personalised investigation of radiotherapy based treatment regimens. Scientific Reports, volume 9, Article number: 6327 (2019)

Development of personalised cancer models to predict response to radiation would benefit patient care; particularly in malignancies where treatment resistance is prevalent. Herein, a robust, easy to use, tumour-on-a-chip platform which maintains precision cut head and neck cancer for the purpose of ex vivo irradiation is described. The device utilises sintered discs to separate the biopsy and medium, mimicking in vivo microvascular flow and diffusion, maintaining tissue viability for 68 h. Integrity of tissues is demonstrated by the low levels of lactate dehydrogenase release and retained histology, accompanied by assessment of cell viability by trypan blue exclusion and flow cytometry; fluid dynamic modelling validates culture conditions. An irradiation jig is described for reproducible delivery of clinically-relevant doses (5 × 2 Gy) to newly-presenting primary tumours (n = 12); the addition of concurrent cisplatin is also investigated (n = 8) with response analysed by immunohistochemistry. Fractionated irradiation reduced proliferation (BrdU, p = 0.0064), increased DNA damage (ƴH2AX, p = 0.0043) and caspase-dependent apoptosis (caspase-cleaved cytokeratin-18) compared to control; caspase-dependent apoptosis was further increased by concurrent cisplatin compared to control (p = 0.0063). This is a proof of principle study showing the response of cancer tissue to irradiation ex vivo in a bespoke system. The novel platform described has the potential to personalise treatment for patients in a cost-effective manner with applicability to any solid tumour.


Radiation Physics Department
Queen's Centre
Castle Hill Hospital
East Yorkshire
HU16 5JQ


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