This volume is an eclectic mix of applications of Monte Carlo methods in many fields of research should not be surprising, because of the ubiquitous use of these methods in many fields of human endeavor. In an attempt to focus attention on a manageable set of applications, the main thrust of this book is to emphasize applications of Monte Carlo simulation methods in biology and medicine.
Brachytherapy is the direct implantation of radioactive sources into the prostate. It is based on the principle that the deposition of radiation energy in tissues decreases as a function of the square of the distance from the source (Chap. 81). The goal is to deliver intensive irradiation to the prostate, minimizing the exposure of the surrounding tissues. The current standard technique achieves a more homogeneous dose distribution by placing seeds according to a customized template based on CT and ultrasonographic assessment of the tumor and computer-optimized dosimetry.
Radiation Marrow aplasia is a major acute sequela of radiation. Radiation damages DNA; tissues dependent on active mitosis are particularly susceptible. Nuclear accidents can involve not only power plant workers but also employees of hospitals, laboratories, and industry (food sterilization, metal radiography, etc.), as well as innocents exposed to stolen, misplaced, or misused sources.
Positron emission tomography (PET), a powerful research tool 20 years
ago, has recently gained widespread application in oncology and is
now a procedure clinically available on each continent. Despite the fact
only a few PET centers are dedicated to children, data from Children’s
Oncology Group indicate that virtually all children in North America
have easy access to a PET center. As the table of contents of this book
indicates, clinical and research applications of PET for children with
cancer represent only a fraction of the current pediatric uses for PET