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FLASH VHEE Radiotherapy Machine System Design


Cockcroft Institute

Manchester United Kingdom Bioinformatics Cancer Biology Nuclear Physics Other

About the Project

A studentship is available from October 2021 on the development of a unique machine to deliver FLASH radiotherapy. To achieve this goal we anticipate strong collaboration with STFC’s Daresbury Laboratory and CERN. FLASH-RT entails delivering a high dose over a sub-second timescale and there have been experiments on animals which indicate cancerous regions suffer lethal damage whereas healthy tissues show little impairment. There has also been a recent publication on the first patient receiving such treatment with a dose rate of 15 Gy per 90 ms. FLASH-RT was shown to reproducibly spare normal tissues, while preserving the anti-tumour activity. This marked increase of the differential effect between normal tissues and tumours prompted its clinical translation. To achieve these dose rates conventional machines have been modified –and of course the delivery is far from optimal. We plan to investigate an optimised overall system design to achieve high dose rate within a large tissue field. This work will build on the VHEE machine design and make the substantial modifications necessary for FLASH delivery of radiotherapy. Existing electron machines, albeit at low energies, have already been modified to allow FLASH radiotherapy to be conducted – however this has only been on superficial skin cancers due to the limited energy reach. The student will have the potential to make a major contribution to an exciting and rapidly developing field. This means of delivering radiotherapy has the potential for a new paradigm in the treatment of cancer.

The applicant will be expected to have a first or upper second class degree in physics or other appropriate qualification. Experience in radio frequency accelerators is desirable but not essential, as is experience in accelerator and computational physics. A full graduate programme of training and development is provided by the Cockcroft Institute. The student will be based either at the Cockcroft Institute or at the University of Manchester. It is anticipated that there will be analytical, simulation and experimental aspects to this work.

Potential applicants are encouraged to contact: Dr. A. Wheelhouse () or Prof. R.M. Jones () for more information.

UKRI studentships cover a student stipend but do not cover the full costs of international tuition fees and the Cockcroft Institute cannot waive the excess. However, we aim, but cannot guarantee, to cover full fees for successful international applicants.

You can find out more about being a PhD student at the Cockcroft Institute here, where you can download an application form and also find out about the other PhD projects available at the Cockcroft. To apply for this project, fill in the application form and email it with your CV to .

This position will remain open until filled.

Anticipated Start Date: October 2021 for 3.5 Years


Funding Notes

Upon acceptance of a student, this project will be funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) for 3.5 years; UK and other EU citizens are eligible to apply. A full package of training and support will be provided by the Cockcroft Institute, and the student will take part in a vibrant accelerator research and education community of over 150 people. An IELTS score of at least 6.5 is required.

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