Trip to Liverpool Launched By a Question

Linda Alfred, M.B.A., M.Ed., R.T.(T)
Jul. 15, 2014

As an educator, I encourage my students to turn their questions into research. A small investigation often can expand and take you down paths you never would have considered. Those paths might even lead you to represent your profession internationally.

My research began as a question regarding personalized medicine and its potential effect on radiation oncology and led to an abstract, outline and objectives. While searching on the ASRT’s website for opportunities to publish my research, I noticed a call for ISEA applicants. I hadn’t known an opportunity like it existed and was uncertain if my topic would qualify, but I decided to go for it. I never thought I would be accepted!

As an ISEA recipient, I had the opportunity to present my research to technologists in a worldwide forum at the United Kingdom Radiological Congress in Liverpool. One of my goals as a speaker was to emphasize the importance of including personalized medicine in clinical radiation therapy discussions. Personalized medicine goes beyond treatment because it involves advances in imaging, software technology and molecular analysis, which ultimately involve all of us as radiologic science professionals.

Linda’s Research

Linda investigated whether radiation therapy treatments will become a less ideal approach to cancer care because of the advent of personalized medicine, which involves molecular tumor profiling. Close to 1 million patients undergo radiation therapy in the U.S. each year, she observed, and the cost of oncology care is estimated at more than $55 billion and rising.

“Will patients still receive radiation therapy treatments at the present rate in 10 years? In 20 years?” she asked.

“Those of us who chose radiation therapy as a career option view the profession as mentally challenging, patient-centered and a great career choice,” said Linda, explaining that personalized medicine could demand rethinking the standard treatments of not only radiation therapy, but also surgery, chemotherapy or a combination of these and other modalities.

This article was excerpted from “R.T.s Share Knowledge on Global Scale” by Terri Fauber and Linda Alfred, originally published in ASRT Scanner, Vol. 45, No. 5, Pages 22-23.