Applications of nuclear physics in nuclear medicine
Besides being Canada's particle accelerator centre with emphasis on nuclear, particle and accelerator physics, TRIUMF has a long history of medical isotope production and radiotherapy. Cancer treatment with different particles has been a long-standing commitment at TRIUMF, first with pion therapy and then with proton therapy, for many years operating Canada's only proton therapy facility. To improve treatment further, we are researching and establishing FLASH radiotherapy, where the total treatment dose is delivered in less than a second. In addition, we are investigating using alpha and auger emitters for targeted radioisotope therapy. Both have the potential to revolutionize cancer treatment by increasing the therapeutic index.
Cornelia Hoehr received her Ph.D. in atomic physics from Heidelberg University in Germany and the Max-Plank Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg in 2004. After a post-doctoral research term at the Argonne National Lab, USA, she then moved to TRIUMF as a post-doctoral researcher and subsequently took on roles in operation and facilities in isotope production and proton therapy. In 2013, she became a research scientist at TRIUMF and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Victoria, and in 2018, she became an Adjunct Professor at the University of British Columbia – Okanagan, and she took over the role of Deputy Director – Life Sciences. Her research interests are focused on medical isotopes for imaging and therapy and external beam therapy, specifically proton therapy and FLASH therapy. She is a member of the steering committee for the Particle Therapy Co-Operative Group (PTCOG) and a consultant to the IAEA in isotope production.