University of Wisconsin-Madison Physical Sciences Lab


[Tomotherapy Drawing]

Creative Concept to Cancer Therapy

The intrepid idea was to be more accurate and more effective with radiation treatment by combining intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) with computed tomography (CT); thus, pinpoint accuracy and realtime delivery of radiation. It would revolutionize the way cancer is treated. The early work for the tomotherapy project was done at PSL and focused on the design and feasibility of what is know as the multi-leaf collimator-a highly specialized piece of equipment that works to allow that pinpoint accuracy of radiation-and culminated with a finished prototype of the entire machine. The concept was born in the early 1990s in the minds of two UW-Madison researchers, Dr. Rock Mackie and Paul Reckwerdt, who collaborated with PSL on the design of the machine’s prototype. Today the company has worldwide distribution, and has improved the therapy of tens of thousands of cancer patients.

“I always give credit to the PSL engineers for our design.”

Prof. Rock Mackie,
Co-founder of Tomotherapy

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