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FLASH VHEE Radiotherapy Machine System Design

   Cockcroft Institute

   Applications accepted all year round  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Supervisors: Alan Wheelhouse (ASTeC/STFC), James K. Jones (ASTeC/STFC), Valery Dolgashev (SLAC/Stanford Univ.), Roger M. Jones (University of Manchester/Cockcroft Institute)

Project Description:

A studentship is available from October 2023 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. There is the potential for an LTA at SLAC/Stanford to further the practical aspects of this research.

 Potential applicants are encouraged to contact:

Prof. R.M. Jones () for more information. This position will remain open until filled.

Funding and eligibility: 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.

 Contact for further information:

How to apply:

Anticipated Start Date: October 2023 for 3.5 Years

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