Proton radiobiology and inverse optimisation
DPhil Project: Radiobiological Optimisation for Treatment Planning
My research focuses on incorporating radiobiological considerations into treatment planning for proton and heavy ion therapies. Conventional radiation therapy, using x-rays, is not able to achieve the same targeted effects that particle such as protons can offer. Upon these particles being fired into the patient from an external accelerator nozzle, energy is deposited and cells receive a radiation dose. We can tune the beam parameters such that the tumour receives a conformal and lethal dose, while the surrounding healthy tissues receive only a small amount of residual dose. However, this nice dose deposition characteristic does not tell the full story. Particles induce different radiobiological effects when they interact with biological material, which must be better understood before proceeding with treatment.
My work models some of these radiobiological effects and incorporates them directly into an automated optimisation algorithm for planning particle therapy treatments. Such an algorithm will allow for fast treatment plan creation and reduced biological uncertainties, which has the potential to improve both treatment quality and clinical workflow.