Dr. Eva Lee and Client Sloan-Kettering Chosen as Finalist in International Competition for Operations Research

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ATLANTA, GA, April 17, 2007 * ISyE Associate Professor Eva K. Lee, in collaboration with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), has been named one of only five finalists for the Franz Edelman award, an international competition acknowledging exceptional achievement in Operations Research and the Management Sciences. Lee and her client, MSKCC, are being recognized for their entry entitled "Operations Research Answers to Cancer Therapeutics."

As the world's oldest and largest private cancer center, MSKCC seeks next-generation cancer treatment advances to enhance its ability to treat patients effectively, both in terms of improved care and reduced cost.

Lee holds dual appointments as associate professor in both ISyE and the Winship Cancer Institute in the

School of Medicine at Emory University . Further, Lee serves as director of the Center for Operations Research in Medicine and HealthCare, a collaborative education and research center established between ISyE, Georgia Tech/Emory Health Systems Institute, and medical and healthcare researchers in different disciplines.

The winner of the Franz Edelman competition will be announced at a special awards banquet during The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS*) Conference on O.R. Practice in

Vancouver from April 29-May 1, 2007.

Every year, the Franz Edelman competition recognizes outstanding examples of Operations Research (O.R.)-based projects that have transformed companies, entire industries, and people's lives. O.R. uses advanced analytical methods to help make better decisions and is a disciplined way by which management can improve organizational performance in a wide variety of situations, in nearly any type of organization in the public or private sector.

Past Franz Edelman winners have included Motorola, Merrill Lynch, Canadian Pacific Railway, and IBM.

Operations researchers working with Sloan-Kettering devised sophisticated optimization modeling and computational techniques to implement an intra-operative 3D treatment planning system for brachytherapy (the placement of radioactive "seeds" inside a tumor) that offers a safer and more reliable treatment.

The real-time intra-operative planning system eliminates pre-operation simulation and post-implant imaging analysis. Based on the range of costs of these procedures, Professor Eva Lee has estimated conservatively that their elimination nationwide could save on the order of $450 million a year for prostate cancer care alone.

As reported in a recent article by Dr. Michael Zelefsky and his colleagues at MSKCC "real-time intraoperative planning consistently achieved optimal coverage of the prostate with the prescription dose with concomitant low doses delivered to the urethra and rectum. Biochemical control outcomes were excellent at 5 years and late toxicity was unusual. These data demonstrate that real-time planning methods can consistently and reliably deliver the intended dose distribution to achieve an optimal therapeutic ratio between the target and normal tissue structures."

Resulting reduction of complications (45-60%) due to plans that deliver less radiation to healthy structures improves the quality-of-life for patients, and has a profound impact on the cost for interventions to manage side-effects. Drs Lee and Zaider also reported that the procedure uses significantly fewer seeds and needles compared to current best-practice procedures. Thus the procedure time is shortened and less invasive, and there is less blood loss. As a result, patients experience less pain and recover faster.

National distribution of this system will allow achievement of consistent treatment planning across different clinics, thus reducing the variability in the quality of treatment plans. The resulting plans limit urethral dose, decrease the operator-dependency, and reduce the influence of the learning curve associated with prostate brachytherapy. These all have important consequences for the outcome of treated patients.

The system allows for dynamic dose correction, thus helping the training of clinicians and residents to develop effective and safe treatment plans.

The additional 2007 Franz Edelman finalists are:

  1. Coca-Cola, for a project entitled "Optimizing Distribution at Coca-Cola Enterprises"

  2. The Coast Guard, for "Maximizing Aircraft Availability by Managing Aircraft Maintenance Throughput at the Coast Guard Aircraft Repair and
    Supply Center "

  3. Hewlett-Packard, for "Procurement Risk Management at Hewlett-Packard Company"

  4. DaimlerChrysler and J.D. Power for "PIN Incentive Planning System: A Decision Support System for Planning Automobile Manufacturers' Pricing and Promotions"

Additional information about the Edelman Competition is online at


  • Workflow Status:Published
  • Created By:Barbara Christopher
  • Created:04/16/2007
  • Modified By:Fletcher Moore
  • Modified:10/07/2016



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