Month: October 2021

27 Oct 2021
Small cute dog examined at the veterinary doctor, close-up

Radiation Dosimetry for Animal Subjects 

This brief article describes ways in which Versant Medical Physics and Radiation Safety supports veterinarians and laboratory scientists who work with animal patients and laboratory research animals. Dosimetry is the science of measuring radiation and determining the amount of radiation energy that is imparted to living tissues. Radiation dosimetry is helpful in many medical science applications, such as correlating dose with biological effect, diagnosing disease, and planning radiation therapy for cancer treatment.  



Nuclear medicine is a fundamental medical specialty in radiology.  In nuclear medicine, radiologists administer radioactive drug products to patients to diagnose and treat many different health conditions.

In the healthcare setting, radiation dosimetry helps doctors to better understand the complex relationships between the amount (activity) of a radiopharmaceutical administered and the drug product’s biodistribution and metabolism in the body–such as its localization, retention, and clearance patterns. 

The biological behavior of the pharmaceutical inside the patient can be imaged using modern radiation-detection systems in two or three dimensions. The localized uptake of a radiopharmaceutical can indicate the function of organs, such as the heart, brain, liver, and kidneys (among others), and is particularly helpful in diagnosing cancer.

Radiation dosimetry provides the fundamental quantities used for radiation protection, risk assessment, and treatment planning. 

Animal subjects and humans are similar biologically in many ways. Therefore, different animal species may also be diagnosed and treated using the same or similar radiopharmaceuticals given to humans. And laboratory animals help researchers develop and test new drug products to ensure their safety and efficacy. Internal radiation dosimetry for animals has therefore become an important subspecialty of nuclear medicine physics.

Fundamental principles

Basic physics methods for internal radiation dosimetry are similar for animal and human models. Differences include the size and geometry of source-target organ pairs. Source organs are the internal organs for which images have been acquired or for which measurements have been made to determine the specific uptake, retention, and clearance patterns for the radioisotope. 

Target organs are the organs and tissues for which radiation doses are calculated. Recognizing the important size and metabolic rate differences among species, care must be taken by the nuclear medicine physicist to use correct calculation methods and the most relevant animal model.

Common animal species

In veterinary medicine, pet owners take their animals to clinics for evaluation and treatment of cancer, hyperthyroidism, and organ function.  The most common species include dogs, cats, and horses. In laboratory research, scientists use normal and immunodeficient mice, rats, rabbits, and sometimes dogs, monkeys, and miniature pigs.

Most biomedical research involves mice because they are less expensive, more easily housed and fed, and more efficiently bred for certain desirable genetic or mutational characteristics. Experiments with mice can also be accomplished in shorter time periods and with greater numbers for statistical purposes than other animal species. 

Optimizing radiation dose for diagnostics or cancer treatment

Radiation dosimetry guides the veterinarian when choosing the right amount of radiopharmaceutical for a specific purpose. Every radionuclide in the chart has unique energy emission characteristics, half-life, and chemistry for applications as drug products. Some radionuclides are good for imaging in the clinic, whereas others are more appropriate for therapeutics. For each type, dosimetry is important to determine the characteristics that provide either the most useful images or the most effective treatment.

In both diagnostic imaging and cancer treatment, which are subspecialties of nuclear medicine physics, a balance must be achieved between administering too much or too little. Too little diagnostic drug renders poor images, too much radionuclide results in poorer quality images, making medical interpretation all the more difficult. In cancer therapy, too little radionuclide may result in an ineffective therapy, whereas too much radionuclide may result in undesirable normal tissue toxicity. 

Excessive radionuclide handling in the pharmacy or clinic may also present an unnecessary radiation hazard to staff—or to pet owners, post-treatment. Radiation dose assessment helps veterinarians and research teams investigate the safest and most effective use of radiopharmaceuticals for the diagnosis and treatment of many disorders in animal subjects.

Dosimetry methods and models

For more than 50 years, specific methods and models for internal organ and tumor dose assessment have been developed by the special committee on Medical Internal Radiation Dose (MIRD) of the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Medical Imaging as a technical resource for both physicians and physicists.  The virtue of the MIRD approach is that it systematically reduces complex dosimetric analyses to methods that are relatively simple to use, including software tools for experimental and clinical use. 

Radiopharmaceutical dosimetry accounts for both physical and biological factors.  Methods for internal radiation dosimetry tackle the challenge of assessing dose for many different radionuclides—each with its unique radiological characteristics and chemical properties as labeled compounds—in the highly diverse biological environment represented by the living body, internal organs, tissues, fluid compartments, and microscopic cells.  Methods developed for human internal dosimetry are readily adaptable to animal subjects–taking into account the differences in size, geometry, and metabolic rates.

Why Versant Physics provides medical internal radiation dosimetry for animal subjects

Dogs, cats, and horses can be diagnosed and treated with radiopharmaceuticals for cancer and some non-malignant growths or overactive thyroid glands. Pet owners have often developed close family-like relationships with their pets, and veterinary care can be essential for preserving the animal’s health and well-being.  

The development and testing of new radiopharmaceuticals usually begin with laboratory studies in mice. When promising results are achieved in mice, the investigators may advance to dog studies or even early clinical trials in humans, if approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The FDA expects reliable and trustworthy radiation dosimetry for safety and efficacy evaluations. These assessments may rely on careful extrapolation of dosimetry results in animals to humans before drug trials can be approved for human patients.


Learn more about Dr. Darrell Fisher and his work in nuclear medicine physics here. Contact Versant Physics for your clinical dosimetry and personnel dosimetry needs.

25 Oct 2021
A machine profile in Odyssey

Odyssey “How To” Series: Machine Management Module

Join us for week 4 of our Odyssey How To Series with Odyssey Implementation Analyst Katelyn Waters, where we discuss how to carry out certain functions of the Machine Management module and answer some of your frequently asked questions.

Odyssey is a radiation safety software suite designed to help RSOs, EHS managers, and Radiation Safety Specialists manage affordable and efficient programs.

KB 00:09: Today we’re back with Odyssey Implementation Analyst Katelyn Waters to talk about the Machine module. We’ll be addressing some frequently asked questions we get about the module’s functionality as well as its use in managing machine inventories. To get started, Katelyn can you tell us the purpose of the machine management module?

KW 00:28: Absolutely. So, what we’re looking at right now are the twelve modules of Odyssey. The Machine Management module is one of those 12, and it has tools that manage both ionizing and non-ionizing machines that are pertinent to your inventory. It allows you to keep track of your machines’ location, any responsible owner, related permits, and really any record that you need to for each machine.

KB 00:55: You mentioned both ionizing and non-ionizing machines. Are there specific types of both those machines that I can add to Odyssey?

KW 01:03: Yes. So, what’s really great about the Machine Management module… which let me go ahead and navigate into it here and we’re going to go to the main Machines list for your question KB… is that within this module you can create customizable groups of the types of machines that you want to keep track of for your program. And for this example demo account, we have X-rays, Lasers, and Non-Ionizing groups added. But, any of these can be changed or customized. This is something that can be set up for you during the implementation process of Odyssey, as well as an admins you have for your account can also come in and edit these at any time.

If I come in and select one of these it’s going to actually filter my machines list to that particular type of machine. I’ll go ahead and open a few of these profiles here so we can see the differences between different types of machines. Alright, so I’m going to have an X-ray machine and a non-ionizing machine open for us in these different tabs here. I have an X-ray machine, this Fuji example, and then I have a Non-ionizing machine for the Biotage example. We can see on both that these top six boxes here are going to be identical, and we can see that we have the exact same information here on this non-ionizing.

Now where it varies, and where those custom groups and information come into play, is with this Template Fields section. So, Odyssey utilizes something called Templates in order to set up those groups, and for each of your machine groups you can keep track of different information. It’s really nice because you can make it so that whatever you care about for this particular type of machine you can keep track of for your program, and you’re not going to be missing any fields of information that might be unique to you and your organization.

The X-ray group here, as an example, has a manufacturing date, information about the x-ray tube, the manufactured model for this x-ray machine itself, and then the inspection due date information. Whereas the non-ionizing machine is really pared down compared to that. We just have inspection information, manufacturer, model, and type. So it’s something that is completely different for every group. And we also have lasers on here too as I mentioned, and those are going to be completely different as well for what we’re keeping track of for those types of machines.

KB 03:32: So, the information displayed on each machine’s profile is also customizable, right?

Katelyn 03:38: Yes. So after you name your group, during that implementation process we’ll set that up for you to begin with, but if you want to make any changes, any additions later on down the road, there is a section of the software called Templates where you can change any of this information if you’re an Admin with the proper permissions. So, if I wanted to, I could go in and I can add additional fields of information that will show up on this profile, I can change the formatting of any of these or even remove any of these if they’re not relevant for me anymore. And that’s really nice because as your program evolves you can make sure that your database is reflecting those changes.

KB 04:13: And what is that update button for that’s included on this page?

Katelyn 04:17: Yeah, so we have one here, and you’ll see we have one on the non-ionizing machine profile as well. And you can have more than one, actually, on each profile. And what it is is this section, where it says inspection due is a due date associated with this machine. And for any of those types of due dates, the date itself is going to be added to the calendar of the owner. So Fred here has this date on his calendar, as well as any admins that are added to this account, so they’ll also be able to see that date on their calendar. In addition to that, we have an alerts system which will send alerts to you to give you notification, this is upcoming, so you can set that up to give you notification 30-days in advance, 60-days in advance, whatever your preference is, and that way you’re prepared for that particular due date, and you can make sure that whatever action needs to occur does in fact occur. And the update button is in place, so this inspection here, once this inspection has occurred, I can come in here and actually update this information on the profile.

As an example of that, this one here is due October 15th of this year, let’s pretend for a minute that this inspection actually happened today. I’m coming in here and want to update that information. What I can do is select that Update button, it’s going to automatically pre-fill with today’s date, so today is September 30, so we can see that date there. And if I do hit this Update button, what it does is then calculate out the next due date. This is setup to be an annual process for these inspections, so when I select this it calculates out annually for the next inspection due date. So we can see that it has progressed to September 30, 2022.

KB 05:59: That’s great. What if I have documents from that survey or that inspection, is there somewhere I can keep those within Odyssey?

Katelyn 06:08: That is a great question. So, we do have a very handy document section at the bottom of each profile. And you can see for the x-ray machine we’re looking at here we have two that were previously uploaded, a registration application and then a report of assembly. But this section can be used for a variety of different documents, so if you want to keep your inspection documents here you can. If you have a document of repair for that machine, registrations, anything that you want to associate with a particular machine and its profile you can put here. And we do also have a section for site documents as well, so if its maybe a facility registration and that’s something you want to have on a particular machine you can also upload it in that site section.

KB 06:52: Well that sounds great! And that actually wraps up our list of frequently asked questions for this Machine Management module. Thank you, Katelyn, for walking through it with me and clarifying how users can use it to both manage their machine inventory as well as track important due dates. Join us next week for Part 5 where we will discuss the Incident Management module.

Katelyn 07:10: Thanks for having me, KB!


Schedule an in-depth demo with our Odyssey team to discuss how the software can assist you with your radiation safety management needs.

20 Oct 2021
Odysser Reporting Module

Odyssey “How To” Series: Reporting Module

Join us for our third interview with Odyssey Implementation Analyst Katelyn Waters, where we discuss how to carry out certain functions of the Reporting module and answer some of your frequently asked questions.

Odyssey is a radiation safety software suite designed to help RSOs, EHS managers, and Radiation Safety Specialists manage affordable and efficient programs.

KB 0:10: Welcome to part 3 of our twelve-week how-to series highlighting Odyssey radiation safety software. Today we’re back with Odyssey Implementation Analyst Katelyn Waters to talk about the Reporting Module. Like the previous two weeks, we’ll be looking at some frequently asked questions we get about the module’s functionality and its use in generating reports. Katelyn, can you get us started by telling us what kind of reports are included in the reporting module?

Katelyn 0:35: Absolutely. To begin, the reporting module is one of 12 modules of Odyssey, which is what we’re looking at on our screen right now. And if I do select it here to actually go into the module, we have a Generate Reports section, which is what we’ll focus on for today’s call.

And reporting is really great because it is going to allows you to pull data from the other modules of Odyssey. If I select the report type drop down, we can see some examples of that. So, I have different radioactive materials reports that I can generate from here. I can also generate reports on my labs or areas that hold those materials, different users of the software and data associated with them, any permits or audits, as well as all of my inventory that’s in the system such as different machines, equipment, and waste management. So there’s really a lot of different options that you have for your report types once you’re in reporting.

KB 01:34: What if I want to change any of these reports, or even create my own. Can I do that?

Katelyn 01:39: Excellent question. Depending on which report you choose, you actually have different filters that are going to be available for your selection. I just chose the machines report as an example, and I have these additional filters that pop up called site, owner, permit, and template. And if I do select another one here, you can see I have different options so I have some different date fields at the bottom I can filter by.

Each of those are going to be different depending on your report. You also have the ability to include additional information or exclude any of the default information that’s going to be in the report. So for this machines report, if I want to include additional information about any of my types of machines such as the X-ray, Laser, or Non-Ionizing machines we have on this example account, I can do so. I just have to select one as my template. Then I have the ability to come here and pick which of the fields of information I want to include.

These are all custom fields that I set up for my X-ray group, and I can choose to include any of that information in the report. I can also exclude any default information. So, if I scroll down, this section right here includes information that was already going to be included on the report by default, and I can get rid of any that if I’m not interested in seeing that in my end report. Just go ahead and uncheck those and then we’ll be ready to generate it with all of our customizations.

KB 03:06: So, once I am done creating my report, how do I go about sending it to other people?

Katelyn 03:12: You have a few different options here. I’ll go ahead and generate the report so we can see a couple of those. And once I do hit the Generate Report button it’s going to display that report on screen for us at the very bottom. So, it says Machines report and then I have everything broken down by my different groups. On this one, we just included the X-ray machines, but if I were to have included lasers or non-ionizing they’ll be present in different sections as well.

And then you can see the different column choices that we made are going to be displayed in this table. So, you as the user can see this right away. But, in terms of your question in distributing this to others, you have two different buttons here where you can view and download this report as different file types. So, you can get a CSV file for use in Excel or a PDF, and those you can have and distribute either via email yourself, through a different email service, or you can put that onto a file-sharing site, whatever your preference is.

We also give you the ability to directly email that information out. So, if I come back to the top we have this Email Report tab. I can select from a list of existing users of Odyssey, so these are all going to be people on our demo account, so that’s why they have the interesting emails that they do. And, once I select those individuals, they’re going to be on my recipient’s list to receive this report. I can also type in an email address manually as well. Once I do that, these people I can email the report then via this email report button, and it’ll send that as a PDF attachment to them.

The other option we have is an automated report. So I can come in and add an automated report and what that’s going to do is allow you to set up a certain frequency which you want to email this same report to the same people. If you have a group of managers, for instance, that you want to email their inventory each month, this would be a great way to set that up. Once you set it up once, you don’t have to continually come into the software to generate and email those reports. Odyssey takes care of that and will send it to them on the proper frequency, once again as a PDF attachment in that email.

KB 5:20: And is there a way for me to change the format of the report?

Katelyn 5:24: Yes. So, we have one example here, which I’ll go ahead and show you. We have a PDF Template system, which is what this drop-down menu is for. And you’ll probably also recall that was one of the three sections of this module, we had a Generate Reports section, a PDF Templates, and a Mailing. The PDF Templates will allow you to create different formats for the PDF that you want to generate.

So, we have a Versant Physics one that we’ve created as an example. I’ll go ahead and recreate that report with the PDF Template applied. And, it includes then a Versant logo at the top, as well as we’ve added in some footer information with Versant’s contact info. This is pretty customizable for what you can include. It basically allows you to create any header and footer that you want. So you have the ability to include different text, different images, if you want to include a proprietary symbol you could also do that, for example. But it’s pretty common, and I see a lot of our clients really utilize it to add their logo in at some point in the PDF, as well as any additional footer information that they need to. And that’s just a way to create a more polished report for distributing to others.

KB 06:35: Do you have to be a licensed Odyssey user to actually view these reports?

Katelyn 06:43: I’m glad that you asked that. It’s something that comes up very frequently. You do not, which is a real strength, I think, of this module. I highly recommend that for people who just need to have information distributed to them from the software, that you do so via reporting. It really cuts down on the number of licenses that you might need, if they don’t need to interact with that data at all, but just need to have it to view, it’s a great way to get that information out to them via the email report tab here. You can type in their email address manually to this box, you can also have things added on file so you can pull that from the list of uses if you want to. But, it’s a great way to distribute that out, and like I said, it comes as a PDF attachment and they don’t need any additional permissions in order to view that data.

KB 07:34: And that wraps up our list of frequently asked questions for the Reporting module. Thanks again Katelyn for walking through the module with me and clarifying how administrators can use it to effortlessly create reports on their Odyssey data.


Schedule an in-depth demo with our Odyssey team to discuss how the software can assist you with your radiation safety management needs.

13 Oct 2021
Odyssey Inventory Tracking Module

Odyssey “How To” Series: Inventory Tracking Module

Join us for our second interview with Odyssey Implementation Analyst Katelyn Waters, where we discuss how to carry out certain functions of the Inventory Tracking module and answer some of your frequently asked questions.

Odyssey is a radiation safety software suite designed to help RSOs, EHS managers, and Radiation Safety Specialists manage affordable and efficient programs.

https://vimeo.com/622603614

KB 0:09: Welcome to part 2 of our 12-week how-to series highlighting Odyssey radiation safety software. Today we’re back with Odyssey Implementation Analyst Katelyn Waters to talk about the Inventory Tracking module. We’ll be addressing some frequently asked questions we get about the module’s functionality and its use in tracking radioactive materials. Katelyn, can you start by explaining a little bit about the inventory tracking module and its different sections?

Katelyn 0:35: Absolutely. So let me first go ahead and select the inventory tracking module out of the 12 available modules of Odyssey here. And once I do that, we’re going to have six different sections to look at here. We’re going to have a:

  • Master Tables section which is going to be a master list of any isotopes or compounds you might use in the organization.
  • Labs. We have a section devoted to labs that are going to house radioactive materials. They’re going to each have a profile of information.
  • Inventory holdings are going to be your unsealed sources, each with their own profile as well.
  • We have a RAM Use Card section; this is a really great way to get updates to radioactive material inventories from other users.
  • A Sealed Source section which supports leak testing.
  • And then finally we have a Lab Form section. So this allows you to very quickly fill out forms that relate to any of your labs in this module.

KB 01:30: So, for the section on labs that house radioactive materials, does the area have to be an actual lab?

Katelyn 01:36: That’s a great question. So, we have decided to use the name labs and it really could refer to an actual lab but it may not be as well. It could be an entire building, an entire site, a specific room. So really any location you can designate as a lab.

And if I go in and select this section here we can see the list of available example ones I have for this account. So you can see I have some buildings, I have some overall locations, some warehouses. So, it’s really flexible as to what you can put in as a lab here. And the advantage of doing so is once you add it as a lab it has its own profile, that I mentioned. And I can get to that by selecting the name of any of these here.

So if we go and take a look at Building 1, we have some general information about this building. Like, we can name what this lab is. I can give it a text or number category, a status, I can assign different individuals to it like a health physicist. Importantly, I can update the survey frequency here. And then I have these additional tabs of information. I have a tab that lists out the permits or licenses that relate to this location, maps for it. You can have multiple maps here, say if you want one for each different level of the building or if you want one for a different room.

Survey history, where I can come in and actually select any of these dates if I want more information from the survey for that date, or I can create a new one with this button.

A few other miscellaneous tabs. But the other important one that I want to make sure I point out is this inventory tab. So, this is a big benefit to this section of the module. So any of the locations that you have that house radioactive materials are going to have this tab where it will show you all of the inventory at that location. So you can see I have my unsealed RAM sources here, I have my sealed sources, and then in addition to that, it will also list out equipment and machines at that particular location. It’s really nice to be able to see all of that inventory all in one place.

KB 03:36: That sounds great. So, for the materials that are stored there, does this software do automatic decay calculations?

Katelyn 03:44: Yes. I’ll do an example of one of our sealed sources here. So if I come and take a look at this table we have the name of our sealed sources, a serial number for it, what’s actually contained in terms of the isotope there, the owner or responsible person, if there’s a permit of license that’s authorizing it that’ll be listed out, and then we get into some activity information. And so, when you go and add the sealed source or another radioactive material to Odyssey, to begin with, it’s going to ask you for the known reference date and reference activity. And so that’s what these two columns are. And once that information is in the software, Odyssey is going to use those dates and activities in combination with the half-life of the isotope to always be doing current activity calculations for you on any page refresh. So, all of these are just calculated when I came to the profile here. Like I said, that’s always going to be constantly updating. You can see this information in a few different places, it’s always going to be here on the inventory tab for the different labs, but also in those two separate sections that we already mentioned where you have your unsealed sources and sealed sources too.

KB 04:55: And if I needed to adjust or dispose of any of this material how would I go about doing that?

Katelyn 05:02: Absolutely. You can either go to one of those two sections we talked about, the inventory holdings section or your unsealed, or you can go directly to your sealed sources section. And that will allow you to see a table of different profiles for those materials. I can also just navigate there by selecting anything in these tables. Everything that is possible to be hyperlinked within Odyssey is. So if something you see on the screen has a profile you can usually select that to go to that profile. If I were to choose one of these RAM IDs it’s going to then load that profile of the RAM for me.

This one in particular we have the RAM profile for RAM ID 102 loaded. I can see who the owner or responsible person is, the permits or license that is authorizing it, where it’s at – it’s at building 1 here—what it contains, the compound and isotope, and then all of that activity information that we previously spoke of. Once I’m here, to directly answer your question KB, I have the ability to do some actions on this particular material, and those are found on these buttons in the lower right-hand corner. I can split this RAM, which is going to take this one profile and turn it into more than one, so I can have two, three as many as you want. And you can designate the activity for each of those, so this would be, you know if you’re actually physically splitting this material in real life, and you want that to reflect in your electronic records, you can do it that way.

You can dispose of it, which is one of the actions that you had asked about. So, if you hit this dispose button, it will prompt you to optionally transfer this to waste management. If you do have both inventory tracking and waste management modules, it’s really great for cradle-to-grave tracking there.

You can re-assign this material. That would be to a different owner, a different permit or license, or a different lab. Finally, the other part that you asked about was adjusting the activity. Adjust activity can be done with this button. And like I said, we are automatically calculating these activities, but if you need to manually adjust it for any reason you can do so just by hitting that button.

And anything that you change will show up on this profile as well, that’s what these two fields are where you have an adjusted activity and an adjusted date.

KB 07:17: You mentioned that sealed sources are kept in a separate section for leak testing. How do I view leak test information?

Katelyn 07:24: Yeah, so in order to see that let me actually go to that separate section. I’m going to back out to our main Inventory Tracking section, and this is what we had at the very beginning here of our conversation today with those six different sections. And I’ll go into Sealed Sources where that leak test information is kept. Like I mentioned we do keep these separate due to those leak tests and that workflow, so from this table, I can see which of my sources need to be leak tested. It’s listed in the last column of the table in the Leak Test Required column, and this information comes from when you initially add the source into Odyssey.

If I do choose one, like this one here which has an annual requirement, I can take a look at its profile and we’re going to have some additional information there. On any source that needs to be leak tested, there is a tab called leak test, and this tab allows you to add new leak tests if you want, but it also allows you to view any historical ones that have occurred. So, I can click on this date to get more information if I want, and it will also keep track of when the next one’s due. So this one occurred in May of 2021, and if I come back to my general information tab here, I can see that my next Leak Test is going to be due May of 2022 since this does have an annual requirement. This is really nice that this is automatically going to progress for you once you log a new one on that leak test tab.

KB 08:54: Can I receive reminders for those due dates?

Katelyn 08:56: Absolutely. That’s one of my favorite features of Odyssey is that anything that has a due date associated with a sealed source, machine, equipment, those due dates can push reminders to you which show up as alerts in our system. And they have a post-it note resemblance, they’re going to be in the Alerts and Tasks bar on the lower right-hand corner, and they show up in this format. And you can optionally also get email alerts. Say you’re not logging into this system very frequently; you can have those pushed to your email to make sure you’re definitely aware of those upcoming dates.

KB 09:31: And if I’m being inspected or audited, or maybe I just need to look at records for materials, can I do that?

Katelyn 09:38: Yes. That’s what this History tab is that we have added here that I haven’t spoken about yet. The History tab is going to log any changes that occur for your material, whether that’s going to be an unsealed source or sealed source. You can go back and see these examples here of this Vincent person and what changes he’s made and the date and time those changes were made. So if you need to go back and see when an activity change happened or where a source was, this is a great place to do that for regulatory purposes.

We also have a Documents tab, so if you’ve previously uploaded documents for the source that an inspector might want to see you can always find them here. Say you have a wipe test or some sort of shipment receipt label, you can put that here and always have those to reference.

Finally, say you have an inspector that requests information, but you don’t necessarily want to go through each profile for your sources, we do have a Reporting module which allows you to pull some comprehensive information for everything on the account, and then you can either download that as a CSV file or a PDF and email that to them.

KB 10:44: That all sounds great. And that wraps up our list of frequently asked questions for the Inventory Tracking module. Thanks, Katelyn, for walking through the module with me and clarifying how Radiation Safety Officers can utilize it to manage radioactive material in their radiation safety program. Join us next week for part 3 of our Odyssey How To series where we will be discussing the Reporting module.


Schedule an in-depth demo with our Odyssey team to discuss how the software can assist you with your radiation safety management needs.

06 Oct 2021
Odyssey Personnel Dosimetry module dashboard

Odyssey “How To” Series: Personnel Dosimetry Module

Join us for an interview with our Odyssey Implementation Analyst Katelyn Waters, where we discuss how to carry out certain functions of the Personnel Dosimetry module and answer some of your frequently asked questions.

Odyssey is a radiation safety software suite designed to help RSOs, EHS managers, and Radiation Safety Specialists manage affordable and efficient programs.

KB 00:10: Welcome to Part 1 of our Odyssey how-to series, where we highlight some frequently asked questions about the cloud-based radiation safety software suite and its application in real-world radiation safety programs. Over the next 12 weeks, we’ll be addressing each of Odyssey’s modules, and breaking them down to give a better idea of how they work. My name is KB, and today I’m joined by Odyssey Implementation Analyst Katelyn Waters to discuss the Personnel Dosimetry Module. Thanks for joining me, Katelyn!

Katelyn 00:37: Thanks KB, I’m happy to be here and hopefully we can help answer some of the frequently asked questions that we get for the Personnel Dosimetry module in Odyssey.

KB 00:46: So, the personnel dosimetry module is a key feature of the Odyssey platform. It features customizable widgets and reporting tools that help RSOs and EHS professionals managing a badge program do so in a very efficient way. But how exactly is dosimetry data made available in the module?

Katelyn 01:05: That’s an excellent question, and one of the first that we get whenever we are doing different demonstrations of the software. So, personnel dosimetry does support data from any vendor, but it is primarily designed for Mirion and Landauer. So what it actually does is the software uses a login to either AMP for Mirion or MyLDR for Landauer to view and import that dosimetry information into your account. And so this import happens automatically, we set it up to be daily for Mirion and monthly for Landauer, and so everything’s going to be automatically pulled into the software for you.

KB 01:43: If I have multiple dosimetry accounts can I use this module to manage them?

Katelyn 01:48: Yeah, absolutely. So, it is designed to help aid in the management of multiple accounts. So, whether those accounts are all through one vendor, being Mirion or Landauer, or if they’re from both vendors, this is very beneficial for managing those. You can change the dashboard, that’s what we’re currently looking at here for the module, and this dashboard is a quick at a glance view of your dosimetry account. And you can change what account you’re looking at from this first dropdown menu here that I’m hovering over currently, and you can also change it to look at specific locations or subaccounts, and that’s from the second dropdown menu here.

Additionally, we also have something called a Common Wearer Profile, and what that does is it’s going to combine dosimetry information from more than one account. So if you have a wearer that has a badge from both vendors, or maybe they have two badges that are under different locations or subaccounts, you can combine that information into one profile to make viewing that dosimetry history a lot easier for that wearer.

KB 02:50: So, if I wanted to add or remove any of those multiple badges on my account, can I do so from within Odyssey?

Katelyn 02:57: Yeah, great question. So, the actual addition or editing of any of the badges for wearers for your program will still take place in your vendor portal, whether that’s Mirion, Landauer, or another party. So this particular module is designed to give you some additional features that aren’t available in those vendor portals. Some of those features include ALARA reporting, easy form 5 access, different alerts and reminders, shipping, different management for some of those high-level activities that you’re going to need to do for your program.

KB 03:31: I see. What about this dashboard? Is it possible to change any of the information that’s displayed here?

Katelyn 03:38: Yes. I definitely recommend that when you start utilizing this module in the software that’s something you do right away because it makes it very beneficial for you, and you can do that by selecting this gear icon here, it’s going to take us to show us all of the settings. So each of these boxes we refer to as a widget, and each widget has its own settings for what you want to view on your dashboard. A good example here is the Recently Viewed widget in the top right-hand corner. I have what I want to see available for selection with these checkboxes, I have some drop-down menus for the number of things that I want to see here for the Read activity widget I can choose the time period… so depending on what it is they each have their own settings for these particular widgets, and that way you can really make it for what you need to see for your program.

In addition to that, you can also click and drag things to more prominently display them. So, if I want to have this graph of Read Activity–these are doses that are coming in each day–I can put this at the very top so I can see that a more prominent position. You can also hide things if they aren’t useful to your program. So, say you don’t want this recently viewed widget, I can select the eye icon and hide that and if I were to save these settings it would remove that from my dashboard. So, it’s very customizable.

KB 04:59: You mentioned read activity. Is there a place that I can see who hasn’t read their badge?

Katelyn 05:06: Yeah, so we have a query data section which I can actually go to and show you here. And this section allows you to do some really in-depth searches on your dosimetry data. You can choose to select what you want to search for, so with your example, I would go and search for different personnel, and ones that don’t have a badge reading. And then I come down to this section where it says Include or Exclude and I can choose things that I want to either include in my search or exclude from my search. And for us today, I’ll go ahead and add in an inclusion statement to include people for the current account that we’re looking at, just as an example, and then I can exclude people who have readings and we will only be left with those who do not, so I’ll go ahead and exclude people who have a reading for this year by putting in the date of January 1st.

So we can hit this play button here and it’s going to then search through all of your dosimetry records and give you the corresponding data for your filters. Once it does so, you have a table result at the bottom. And so, the format of this data is a little odd due to the fact that we’re looking at primarily, or not primarily, exclusively demo data. So you can see the employee IDs are very long. But this is what the format of that table would look like for you, just have your own dosimetry data displayed in it.  

And these are linked to other areas of the software. So for these wearers, I can actually select them to go to their profiles, and in addition, we have a list of contact information here that if you were to select this mail icon for it would actually put all of these people into a mailing list for you so you can easily communicate with them. So if we do want to reach out to this group and say hey, you need to please read your badge for 2021, you can do so by this easy feature there.

KB 07:02: Well that seems pretty easy to do. Is there any way for me to receive notification of individuals with high doses?

Katelyn 07:10: Absolutely. So that is actually one of my favorite features that we have added into the Personnel Dosimetry module and it exists in this reporting section. So I’ll go ahead and select that and we’ll take a look at that.

The reporting section has a tab called ALARA. The module has the ability to add in different custom ALARA thresholds. For this particular demo dosimetry account, we have two thresholds added in. I’ve added in an ALARA 1 and an ALARA 2. These are both quarterly thresholds but you can also have them trigger on a single dose, they can be monthly, quarterly, or annually. So, you have a variety of options there. They can also be scoped to particular badge regions that a badge is assigned to. Since these are quarterly thresholds, this next filter of the period gives me the option to choose a quarterly time period but that will change depending on your threshold. And if I do put in last quarter as an example and select run report, what that’s going to do is give me a table of results of individuals that have surpassed that threshold for the chosen time period. So we have these three demo people who have surpassed the ALARA 1 Threshold,  and then one person additionally also surpassed the ALARA 2, so this table is really nice because if they did surpass other thresholds it will let you know that. So if you only want to follow up on the higher of the two you absolutely can do that.

It will tell you the time period that we’re covering currently, and then the cumulative dose for that time period, and then the stage that you’re at in the process. So this will allow you to email each of these individual wearers either notification that they went over this dose threshold or a questionnaire – that form that they actually get sent is completely customizable – and the wearer will receive that via email. Once they do, they will open and view that, if they have any questions they can fill that out, it requires a signature and dates it for them automatically, and then that gets sent back to Odyssey. Once it does get sent back, this pie chart progresses and shows you where this process is. So it will change to being yellow for “waiting for RSO response.” So if you’re an RSO, a radiation safety representative, you can come in here, review that questionnaire, and the responses, and sign off on that to complete the process.

And to get back to your initial question about alerts for these items, throughout this entire process you’re going to be receiving in-software alerts which can optionally be email alerts as well. So when a wearer initially goes over the threshold, any of these thresholds you have set up, you’re going to get an alert that looks like a post-it note like one of these. And then when they fill it out they also will trigger an alert and it’ll let you know they have it filled out so that way you can come in and review that as soon as possible. And so you’re always going to be notified of each stage of the process there as this progresses.

KB 10:07: Well that all sounds great! Thanks, Katelyn, for helping us address some frequently asked questions about Odyssey’s Personnel Dosimetry module. Join both of us next week for part 2 where we’re going to be talking about the inventory tracking module and its ability to assist with tracking radioactive materials in your radiation safety program.

Katelyn 10:26: Thanks, KB.


Schedule an in-depth demo with our Odyssey team to discuss how the software can assist you with your radiation safety management needs, or visit our website to learn more about Odyssey’s radiation safety modules.

01 Oct 2021

How Molecular Imaging and Radiation Therapy Help Fight Breast Cancer

It is estimated that 1 in 8 women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer within their lifetimes. It is an incredibly devastating disease that affects thousands of people a year. This year alone, 281,550 women in the United States will be diagnosed.

Screening efforts and treatment therapies involving molecular imaging and radiation therapy are key to helping detect and successfully treat breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Statistics

  • Breast cancer is the most diagnosed cancer in women.
  • Breast cancer in women has the highest rate of death compared with any other cancer, besides lung cancer.
  • It is more commonly diagnosed in black women under the age of 45 than white women.
  • Minority women are 72% more likely than white women to be diagnosed with breast cancer before age 50 and are 127% more likely to die of breast cancer before age 50.
  • Men have a 1 in 833 chance of getting breast cancer.
  • In 2021, the World Health Organization reported that breast cancer accounted for 12% of all new, worldwide cancer cases.

Breast Cancer Risk Factors

Age and being born female are the biggest risk factors for breast cancer. Women that have direct relatives with a history of breast or cervical cancers such as mothers, sisters, and grandmothers have a higher risk of developing breast cancer in their lifetimes.

There are several known gene mutations that can be inherited from either parent which grant a higher lifetime risk of developing breast cancer as well.

When functioning correctly, these genes, called Breast Cancer Gene 1 (BRCA1) and Breast Cancer Gene 2 (BRCA2), produce proteins that help repair DNA. These tumor suppressor proteins actually help protect from certain cancers by slowing abnormal cell growth and forcing certain damaged cells to stop working entirely.

However, when present, the BRCA gene mutation can prohibit these proteins from working and building correctly, resulting in cancerous tumors.

By age 80, 55%-72% of women with an inherited BRCA1 mutation and 45%-69% with an inherited BRCA2 mutation will develop breast cancer. People with a BRCA variant also tend to develop breast cancer at a much younger age than those without.

There are also higher instances of BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations in certain racial and ethnic groups. For instance, 2% of Ashkenazi Jewish people carry one of the variants. A study in 2009 determined that black and Latin American women were more likely to have BRCA1 mutations.

Signs & Symptoms

The most common symptoms of breast cancer include a lump or mass in the breast, but physical changes in the appearance of the breast are also reported. This includes skin redness or swelling, bloody or abnormal discharge, thickening of the skin, or scaliness.

Breast cancer can develop without presenting any physical symptoms, however, which is why regular screening and breast exams are so important for prevention.

Screening Recommendations

Regular breast cancer screenings can help discover breast cancer in its early stages before it has spread to other parts of the body, therefore, limiting treatment options and increasing mortality rates. Mortality rates can be reduced by 40% with regular screenings.

Mammography

Mammography is a low-dose x-ray procedure used to detect breast cancer in its early stages, often before a patient has experienced any symptoms like lumps or skin alterations.

This type of x-ray exam exposes the patient to low doses of ionizing radiation to produce an image of breast tissue or the inside of the breast.  

During a mammography procedure, the breast is flattened between two plates on the x-ray unit for several seconds while an x-ray beam is carefully aimed at the area of concern by the radiologist or technologist performing the procedure. It is standard during a normal screening for two views of each breast to be taken. The mammograms are then reviewed by a radiologist, who looks for early signs of cancer or other abnormalities.

Mammograms can also be used if a patient has experienced symptoms of breast cancer and to screen patients who have been previously treated for breast cancer. This diagnostic mammogram includes additional views of the breast not normally taken during a screening.

Radiation received from regular mammograms is cumulative, however, it does not significantly increase breast cancer risk. In the case of screening for cancer, it is more beneficial in the long run to receive a low radiation dose. 

Screening Frequency

Various medical and cancer-related institutions have different guidelines on when it is appropriate or necessary to schedule a mammogram.

The American Cancer Society recommends patients with an average risk of breast cancer between the ages of 45-54 get annual mammograms. Patients aged 55 and older have the option to get a mammogram every other year.

The American College of Radiology (ACR) and the Society of Breast Imaging (SBI) recommend annual mammograms begin at age 40 and continue past age 74.

Molecular Imaging & Breast Cancer

Molecular Imaging is a medical imaging procedure used to help locate breast cancer tumors and determine if cancer has spread to other parts of the body. It is a vital part of the diagnosis and treatment process because it measures biological and chemical processes within the body, compared with regular x-rays which focus on static anatomical images.

Molecular imaging helps physicians determine the appropriate treatment therapies, study the patient’s response to drugs, and closely monitor changes in cellular activity. It is also useful for identifying whether the prescribed therapies are effective and monitoring for reoccurrences.

There are a variety of medical imaging procedures that help visualize chemical processes in the body such as blood flow, oxygen use, or metabolism. Many procedures require an imaging agent such as a radiotracer—a compound containing a small amount of radioactive material—being introduced into the body usually via injection into the bloodstream.

This radiotracer is designed to accumulate in the body in different organs which are then picked up by the imaging device.  It can also attach to different cells or groups of cells and paint a clear picture about precisely where abnormal amounts of metabolic activity are occurring.

PET/PET-CT

Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scans alongside Computer Tomography (CT) are one of the most common molecular imaging technologies used for breast cancer. The combination of these two imaging modalities helps physicians determine the exact location of the tumor, what stage the cancer is at, if it has spread, and what type of treatment will be best moving forward.

In this procedure, a radiotracer that naturally emits positrons as it decays is injected into the bloodstream. These positrons react with electrons in the body and produce energy in the form of photons. These photons are detected by the PET scanner, producing 3D images which show how the radiotracer is being distributed.

On a PET scan, the areas where the radiotracer has accumulated appear brighter and more intense than in the surrounding tissue. This is because cancer cells, when active, absorb more glucose. The higher instance of this metabolic activity is made clear thanks to these “hot spots” on the PET scan.

The PET scan is combined with the CT scan to produce a detailed image of both the patient’s anatomy and the metabolic activity present.

Surgical Treatment Options

In addition to chemotherapy, there are several other treatment options for breast cancer that typically precede radiation therapy.

Lumpectomy

A lumpectomy, also known as a partial mastectomy, re-excision, or biopsy, is a breast-conserving surgery that involves removing part of the breast tissue. The surgery removes the lump or tumor plus a small amount of the healthy tissue that surrounds it.

Mastectomy

A mastectomy is a surgical procedure that removes the entire breast. There are different kinds of mastectomies with varying degrees of severity. The type of mastectomy a patient receives will depend on the stage the cancer is at and if it has spread to the lymph nodes or other areas of the body. 

Radiation Therapy & Breast Cancer

Radiation therapy delivers ionizing radiation particles to specific areas of the body to destroy cancer cells, either as a standalone treatment or in conjunction with other treatment options like surgery. Brachytherapy and External Beam Radiation Therapy are the two most common treatment types.

Brachytherapy

Brachytherapy is a procedure that involves placing small, sealed radioactive material sources inside the body, either directly inside or next to a tumor. Also known as internal beam radiation, this procedure is used to treat cancer by allowing doctors to deliver higher doses of radiation via a needle or catheter to specific areas of the body.

Compared to other types of radiation treatments, brachytherapy is best for cancers that have not metastasized. It is considered as effective as—and sometimes used in conjunction with—external beam therapy. Due to the nature of brachytherapy procedures, there is a smaller chance of radiation exposure to surrounding healthy tissue and organs than with external radiation as it targets the tumor directly.

Because healthy tissue and organs surrounding the tumor are not as affected by the radiation treatment, most people experience few or less serious side effects than occur with external beam therapy. In addition to tenderness, bleeding, or swelling at the treatment area, the side effects a patient could experience depend largely on the type of cancer and therapy being performed. Fatigue is common.

External Beam Radiation

According to the American Cancer Society, external beam radiation is the most common type of radiation therapy used to treat breast cancer. It can be used in both early-stage breast cancer as well as for advanced stages that cannot be removed with surgery.

EBRT normally occurs 3 to 6 weeks after a patient has undergone surgery and/or completed chemotherapy. Small doses of ionizing radiation are delivered to cancer to destroy the cancerous cells. This process is normally a painless outpatient procedure that lasts up to 5 days a week for anywhere from 2 to 9 weeks.

During EBRT, the patient is usually positioned on their back with their ipsilateral arm placed above their head and their shoulder rotated outward. Then, radiation is precisely applied to the area according to the radiation treatment plan.

Throughout the process, a radiation oncologist monitors a patient’s response to the treatment and may alter the prescribed radiation dose or the number of treatments accordingly.

One 2021 study suggests that a lumpectomy plus radiation therapy offers better survival rates than a standalone mastectomy for early-stage breast cancer. Other studies have discovered that the risk of recurrence in a patient who undergoes radiation therapy is between 5% to 10%, while patients who do not receive radiation therapy have a 20% to 40% recurrence rate.

The Radiation Therapy Team

Each patient who undergoes radiation therapy has a dedicated team of radiation professionals on their side who determine exactly how they will be treated. Throughout the treatment process, they also determine if any changes to the radiation treatment plan need to be adjusted.

A radiation oncologist is a specialist in treating cancer with radiation. Their job is to determine which therapy is the best fit for the patient based on their medical history and physical health.

A medical physicist and dosimetrist will also be a part of this team. They work together with the physician to create the treatment plan.

Radiation therapists and technologists are the individuals who physically administer the radiation therapy treatments and operate the equipment. They are the people patients will interact with the most during their treatment.

The Takeaway

There are a variety of available breast cancer treatment therapies including radiation therapy and surgery. Radiation therapies administered in conjunction with chemotherapy and surgical treatment options have a much lower recurrence rate than standalone treatments.

Proper screening and regular exams are the best way to detect breast cancer when it is in its earliest and most treatable stages. If a patient is 40 or older, it is in their best interest to begin scheduling annual mammograms.

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, check out the following organizations providing patient support services and making great strides in research and awareness:

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Forum Article "Radiopharmaceutical Extravasation: Pragmatic Radiation Protection" published ahead of print

An article written by Versant team members Dr. Darrell R. Fisher, Ph.D. and Misty Liverett, M.S., CNMT was recently published ahead of print in Health Physics. The article provides an unbiased, scientific assessment of pragmatic and reasonable health physics actions that should be taken in response to inadvertent extravasation events. Click the link below to view the article.

Permits

THE PERMISSION SYSTEM FOR INVENTORY TRACKING, MACHINE MANAGEMENT & EQUIPMENT CATALOG MODULES

Permit Profile

Each permit has a dedicated profile of information that includes authorized personnel, radioactive material, machines, and devices. Permit conditions, completed audits, and forms are also found on this profile.

Authorized Condition Database

Create and view authorized conditions included on permits. Previously created authorized conditions are listed with their code, category, and description.

Permit Enforcement

Information specified on a permit not only serves as a record of that permit, but also controls what can be added to other modules. The location, owner and type of radioactive materials, machines, and equipment can be enforced by permits.

Permit Audits

Perform permit audits, mail the results to relevant personnel, and track responses to non-compliances.