Peter LaViolette, PhD
Medical Physics and Imaging Science
Department of Radiology
9200 West Wisconsin Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53226
"My role at the Medical College of Wisconsin is research related. As an Assistant Professor in the department of radiology, I research new techniques for brain tumor imaging to better monitor treatment efficacy and tumor progression. Medical imaging is used in many stages of brain tumor treatment, including diagnosis, surgical and radiation planning, as well as long term clinical follow-up for monitoring treatment response and tumor progression. Medical imaging, specifically magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), has become so standard to clinical care in recent years that it sometimes is neglected as an area needing improvement. MRI “contrast enhancement” is currently the clinical standard for defining the margins of high-grade brain tumors. This brightening of the MR image occurs when injected contrast agent leaks from the blood vessels into tumor-disrupted tissue. Though this imaging is effective at initial diagnosis, treatment such as surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy can also disrupt brain tissue allowing contrast agent leakage. This complicates clinical interpretation. Our current research studies are aimed at improving detection of infiltrative brain tumor cells into surrounding healthy brain, detecting changes in abnormal brain tumor vasculature, and better assessing tumor response to therapy. Central to these research aims is the creation and calibration of new medical imaging techniques meant to improve our imaging capabilities beyond current technology."