Jerry J. Battista, PhD, F.C.C.P.M

Jerry Battista


Professor, Departments of Oncology, Medical Biophysics and Physics , University of Western Ontario

Head, Division of Radiation Oncology , University of Western Ontario

Director, Physics Research and Education , London Regional Cancer Program

Tel: 519-685-8600 x53613
Fax: 519-685-8658

Research area:

 Radiation dose computations, radiation detection in 3D, new radiation sources for brachytherapy, radiobiology of DNA damage and repair.

Current Research Projects

Three-Dimensional Dose Mapping (with K. Jordan, K. Chu, B. Rutt)

3 dimensional dose mapping

Dose profile

Recent technological advances are making it possible to improve X-ray treatments using three-dimensional (3D) irradiation techniques available in our London Regional Cancer Program (LRCC). Verification of 3D dose distributions is essential before they can be used clinically on patients. A new dosimetry technique has been developed in our lab for the measurement of such dose distributions produced in tissue-equivalent gel absorbers. The chemical dosimeter is composed of ferrous sulphate, benzoic acid, and xylenol orange (FBX), mixed with a gel substrate. We map the local changes in optical density due to radiation energy absorption using a green Helium-Neon laser scanning through the gel (in two dimensions) to produce dose images, slice by slice, using optical computed tomography. We can also measure this dose distribution using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) which yield T1 relaxation maps in the same gel material for direct comparison.

Tomotherapy (with J. VanDyk and G. Bauman)

Tomotherapy, literally translated, means slice therapy. Tomotherapy is an evolving technology that employs slit-like radiation beams. These beams have the same shape as the beam that is used for diagnosis in CT scanning. However, there are two main differences. First, the beam has a high energy (6 MV versus 120 kV). Second, as the beam rotates about the patient, a series of radiation absorbing vanes are inserted into the beam dynamically. These are used to control the beam intensity along the length of the slit. These vanes move in and out as the beam rotates around the patient and reduce the dose to normal tissues as needed. The patient moves into the gantry aperture while the beam is on and while the absorbing vanes move in and out so that the path "spirals" around the patient. On the exit side of the patient is a set of radiation detectors, which are used to generate a CT scan of the patient. Thus tomotherapy is a machine that provides both the capabilities of tumour and normal tissue localization while the patient is in the treatment position, as well as very sophisticated radiation treatment and verification - all in one machine. We hope to have one of the first machines installed at the LRCC for prototype evaluation, unique radiobiology studies, and early clinical trials.

More Information (PDF)


Anisotropic dose

New Radiation Sources for Brachytherapy (with P. Munro)

xray needlexn distribution

Brachytherapy is the placement of small radiation sources within or near the tumour bed using guide needles. Radioactive sources have been used in the past and, for example, we were the first to use Ytterbium-169 clinically (October 1990). We continue to evaluate new commercial seeds such as the new generation of Iodine-125 seeds. However, radioactive sources have the limitations of emitting discrete photon energies, decaying dose rate, and of radiation protection. It would therefore be advantageous to have a miniature X-ray needle with variable energy and with a "on/off" switch, as is now being developed commercially. Our lab will evaluate such new technology, performing X-ray spectroscopy and 3D dosimetry with the long-term goal of brain or prostate cancer treatments.

Optimal X-rays for DNA Damage in Tumour Cells (with E. Yu and P. Truong)

Radiosensitizing drugs, such as Iodinated deoxyUridine (IUdR), can be used in combination with X-rays to enhance the killing of tumour cells. IUdR substitutes for thymidine in the DNA structure of rapidly-dividing cells and the Iodine serves to absorb X-rays with a photon energy near 33 keV. By using this optimal excitation energy, we can accentuate the radiation damage as measured by cell survival and of DNA fragmentation. By using the "comet assay" for DNA damage, it may be also possible to measure the radiosensitivity of tumours in individual patients before deciding on their treatment strategy and dose prescription. Initial DNA damage and the enzymatic repair rate can also be measured.

Graph showing tail moment compared to the repair time

Selected Publications


  • Considerations for the Implementation of Target Volume Protocols in Radiation Therapy, Tim Craig, Jerry Battista, Vitali Moiseenko, Jake Van Dyk, Int. J. Rad. Oncol. Biol. Phys. (in press)
  • PVA-Fricke hydrogel and cryogel: Two new gel dosimetry systems with low Fe3+ diffusion, K.C.Chu, K.J. Jordan, J.J. Battista, J.Van Dyk, B.K.Rutt, Med. Phys. 45, 955 - 969. (2000)
  • Normal Tissue Complication Probabilities: Dependence on Choice of Biological Model and Dose-Volume Histogram Reduction Scheme, V. Moiseenko, J. Battista, J. VanDyk, Int. J. Rad. Oncol. Biol. Phys 46, 983 - 993 (2000)
  • Cavity Theory applied to the Dosimetry of Systemic Radiotherapy of Bone Metastases, S. Breen and J. Battista, Phys. Med. Biol.45, 1 - 18 (2000)
  • An In-Vivo Investigation of Brain Tumour Growth Characteristics in an Animal Model Using CT: Implications for Stereotactic Radiosurgery, B. Fisher, L.L. Poczok, T.Y. Lee, R.F. Del Maestro, J. Taylor, I.A. Cunningham, D. Ramsay, J.J. Battista, Radiosurgery 1999 3, 135 - 152 (1999)
  • Feasibility of Reading LiF Thermoluminescent Dosimeters by Electron Spin Resonance , S. Breen and J. Battista, Phys. Med. Biol.44, 2063 - 2069 (1999)
  • Optimal Photon Energy for IudR K-Edge Radiosensitization using Brachytherapy Sources including a new X-ray Needle , S. Karnas, E. Yu, R. McGarry, J. Battista, Phys. Med. Biol. 44, 2537 - 2549 (1999) (PDF Document 195 KB)
  • Optical CT reconstruction of 3D dose distributions using the ferrous-benzoic-xylenol (FBX) gel dosimeter, R.G. Kelly, Medical Physics 25(9), 1741 - 1750 (1998)
  • Accounting for the X-ray energy spectrum in superposition dose calculations, M.B. Sharpe, E. Wong, J. Van Dyk, J.J. Battista. Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on the Use of Computers in Radiotherapy, 103 - 107 (1997)
  • Uncertainty analysis: A guide to optimization in radiation treatment planning, E. Wong, J. Van Dyk, J.J. Battista, R.B. Barnett, P.N. Munro. Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on the Use of Computers in Radiotherapy, 259 - 261 (1997)
  • A new classification scheme for photon beam dose algorithms, J.J. Battista, M. Sharpe, E. Wong, J. Van Dyk. Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on the Use of Computers in Radiotherapy, 39 - 42 (1997)
  • New radioactive isotope developed in Canada for cancer brachytherapy, J.J. Battista, R.B. Barnett, D.L.D. Mason, C.A. Plume, M.S. MacPherson, B. Fisher, A.T. Porter, Current Oncology 2, No. 1, 6 - 13 (1995)


  • Jake Van Dyk, Medical Physicist, LRCC
  • Kevin Jordan, Medical Physicist, LRCC
  • Eugene Wong, Medical Physicist, LRCC
  • Dr. Barbara Fisher, M.D., Radiation Oncologist, LRCC
  • Dr. Edward Yu, M.D., Radiation Oncologist, LRCC
  • Dr. Ting Lee, Medical Physicist, Lawson Health Research Institute
  • Dr. Brian Rutt, Robarts Research Institute
  • Dr. Aaron Fenster, Robarts Research Institute
  • Dr. Ian Cunningham, London Health Sciences Centre
  • Dr. Rolle DelMaestro, London Health Sciences Centre
  • Dr. Peggy Olive, Medical Biophysicist, BC Cancer Research Institute
  • Dr. Richard Hill, Ontario Cancer Institute
  • Dr. John R. Cunningham, Theratronics International
  • Dr. Robert Robertson, Draximage Ltd., Montreal
  • Dr. William Prestwich, McMaster University

Research Group Members

  • Vitali Moiseenko, PhD, Research Associate
  • Patrica Lindsay, Graduate Student
  • Matt Mulligan, Research programmer
  • Tom Pajak, Research programmer

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