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  • Vlora Riberdy, MSc


Dr. Jean-Philippe Pignol


Dr. James Robar

Program of Study:

PhD, Medical Physics

Project Title:

Marker Injection to Guide Adjuvant Radiotherapy for Breast Cancer

Research Summary:

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women. With screening programs, more women affected are being diagnosed at an early stage. The standard method of treatment involves surgery to remove the tumour and irradiation of the whole breast over several weeks. Radiation is used to reduce the risk of tumour recurrence. To improve treatment for patients, studies have shown that irradiating a small volume of the breast with a higher dose instead of the whole breast. This reduces treatment time and decreases the amount of tissue exposed to radiation. In order to irradiate the correct area, it needs to be defined, which is usually done with CT or MRI. Following surgery, a collection of fluid may build up at the surgical site, which is called a seroma. This helps to define the target site for irradiation. However, it is not always visible with imaging. This makes it difficult to accurately treat the affected volume. To solve this problem, we propose using a marker material that can be injected into the surgical cavity, making it easily identifiable for treatment planning. The material is a gel-like substance that can fill the surgical cavity. Contrast agents that are commonly used for CT and MRI can be added to this material to make it visible with these imaging techniques. This will enable real time guidance of the breast radiotherapy, reducing side effects and improving treatment accuracy.

Scholarships and/or Awards:

  • Cancer Research Training Program (CRTP) Traineeship Award 2020
  • Restracomp Sick Kids Research Institute 2017
  • Canadian Graduate Scholarship Master’s (NSERC) 2017

Career Aspirations:

To be a certified medical physicist with a focus on diagnostic imaging, while also continuing to pursue my research interests.


Dalhousie University/NSHA


Riberdy V, Litvack M, Stirrat E, Couch M, Post M, Santyr GE. “Hyperpolarized 129Xe imaging of embryonic stem cell-derived alveolar-like macrophages in rat lungs: proof-of-concept study using superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles,” Magn Reson Med. 2019.

Riberdy VA, Frederickson CJ, Rehse SJ, "Determination of the Zinc Concentration in Human Fingernails by Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy," Appl. Spectrosc. 2017; 71(4):567-582.

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