Ionising radiation effects in the presence of high strength magnetic fields (>0.3T) using MR-Linacs

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The recent incorporation of MR-based imaging in radiation therapy is revolutionising treatment.

Currently, MR is used to determine the best target volume and assess the effect of treatment. However, new technological developments now introduce MR-imagers to the treatment room by combining them with clinical linear accelerators. These imagers allow one to observe the treatment target during the procedure and if necessary adapt or stop the treatment when significant changes occur. The relationship between the high energy radiation and magnetic fields (at different strengths) has not been characterised.

This multidisciplinary project focuses on what interaction MR-imaging can bring and is divided into two stages:

  1. Quantifying the dose deposition of radiation in the vicinity of high strength magnetic fields and measuring the effects at a physical, chemical and biological level using a first principle approach.
  2. Comparing patients assessed using MR during conventional treatment with patients having been treated on MR-linacs directly. This uses radiomics approaches and/or functional MR assessments. 

The ideal applicant will have a background in physics with an emphasis on radiation physics and statistical mechanics. This should be combined with strong computer skills as well as some understanding of MR-imaging, radiation treatment planning, and radiation biology mechanisms.

Secondary supervision will be provided by Maria Hawkins and Ester Hammond. Funding for this project will be provided through a CRUK/MRC Oxford Institute for Radiation Oncology Studentship.

Students are strongly advised to contact their prospective supervisor before applying to discuss their interest in the group’s research.

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