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Kristoffer Petersson

PhD


MRC Investigator

  • Group leader - FLASH Radiation

RESEARCH SUMMARY

FLASH radiation is a novel radiotherapy technique that show great potential in improving cancer treatment. However, very little is known about the biological mechanisms behind the highly beneficial FLASH effect. The research group aims to identify these mechanisms, explain the effect, and to find the optimal way of implementing the technique in clinical practice.

BIOGRAPHY

Kristoffer is a Medical physicist from Helsingborg, Sweden, and holds a M.Sc. (2009) and a Ph.D. (2014) in Medical Radiation Physics from Lund University, Sweden. Kristoffer enjoyed a Post-doc period (2014-2017) working on FLASH radiation at CHUV, in Lausanne, Switzerland. Lately, he has worked as a clinical medical physicist (2017-2019) and started his own research group in FLASH radiotherapy (2017-) at Skåne University Hospital. Recently, Kristoffer accepted the position as Group leader of the newly created research group "Physics and Biology of FLASH Radiation" (2019-) at Oxford Institute for Radiation Oncology, Oxford University. 

GROUP MEMBERS

Kyle Hallett, Research Technician

Jia-Ling RuanPostdoctoral Researcher

Key publications

Recent publications

More publications

DPhil/PhD Projects

Investigating the role of the Keap1-Nrf2 pathway for FLASH Radiation – Can activation/deactivation of Keap1 enhance the FLASH effect?

FLASH radiation is a novel radiotherapy technique that shows great potential in improving cancer treatment. However, very little is known about the biological mechanisms behind the highly beneficial FLASH effect. The newly created research group "Physics and Biology of FLASH Radiation" at the Oxford Institute for Radiation Oncology aims to identify these mechanisms, explain the effect, and to find the optimal way of implementing the technique in clinical practice. A major hypothesis to explain the FLASH effect is that less reactive oxygen species (ROS) are created following FLASH irradiation compared to conventional dose rate irradiation. The Keap1-Nrf2 pathway is a crucial regulator of oxidative stress (i.e. excess of ROS) in the cell and alterations of this pathway can alter the effect of conventional radiotherapy in cancer treatment. In this DPhil/PhD project, using state-of-the-art techniques, you will investigate if manipulation of this pathway through molecularly targeted therapies can further enhance the FLASH effect.

Towards clinical implementation of FLASH Radiotherapy

FLASH radiotherapy is a novel technique that shows great potential in improving cancer treatment. So far, research into FLASH radiotherapy has been restricted to preclinical research, a single phase 1 veterinarian study and a single treatment of a patient. However, the research is quickly moving towards clinical trials, with several veterinarian studies running in Europe and in the US, and with clinical equipment being upgraded to deliver FLASH radiotherapy safely. Most studies on FLASH has used electron beams of several (4-20) Mega electron volt (MeV). These beams only penetrate a few cm in tissue. Thus, limiting clinical treatments to superficial tumours or using intra-operative strategies. To reach deep-seated tumours, electron beams of much higher energies is needed or beams of different particles. Clinical proton beams can fairly easy be modified to enable FLASH radiotherapy and recently Varian announced that they have been issued an Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the first-ever clinical trial of FLASH radiotherapy, which has now been activated.  

In this DPhil/PhD project, using state-of-the-art treatment planning systems, you will investigate how proton FLASH radiotherapy can be delivered in an optimal way to various tumour sites. How the treatments compare to other treatment techniques, e.g. VMAT and IMPT, regarding dose distribution, delivery accuracy and patient perception. Your work will be essential for getting the first UK based clinical trial on FLASH radiotherapy approved.