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(MCRC Non-Clinical) Proton Flash

Project Description

Project summary:
The success of radiotherapy (RT) in eradicating tumours depends chiefly on the total radiation dose, with higher doses curing more cancers. However, all RT treatments deliver some ‘collateral dose (damage)’ to normal tissues around the target. This results in every patient treated for cancer experiencing side-effects. These can be short term or can last indefinitely. As cancer has become much more treatable, helping patients to live with and beyond cancer is becoming increasingly important: and this means reducing the side-effects they experience due to their treatment.

Flash RT has the potential to provide a disruptive change in the way we deliver RT by significantly reducing these side-effects. By Flash we mean delivering the radiation dose in less than a second compared to minutes. Worldwide interest in the transformative potential of Flash stems from experimental results, which show remarkable reductions in normal tissue damage without compromising the tumour control. Because the normal tissue damage is significantly reduced we can potentially deliver more dose in each treatment, significantly reducing both the treatment time and the cost.

At the moment the way in which Flash works in largely unknown, although some studies have linked it to local oxygen depletion during the radiation Flash. The Varian proton beam therapy (PBT) equipment installed in the Christie clinical PBT centre has the potential to deliver Flash. In addition, we have a dedicated research room in the PBT clinical centre. This gives us access to proton Flash delivery using a clinical machine. We also have a purpose built high-throughput hypoxia end-station which allows us explore the oxygen depletion hypotheses (and other mechanisms). This is the first time that anyone in the world has been able to do such experiments with a clinical beam in an environment where the oxygen tension can be precisely controlled.

Entry Requirements:
Candidates must hold, or be about to obtain, a minimum upper second class (or equivalent) undergraduate degree in a relevant subject. A related master’s degree would be an advantage. Applications from all nationalities are welcome.

Funding Notes

The Studentship will cover an annual stipend (currently at £19,000 per annum), running expenses and PhD tuition fees at UK/EU rates. Where international student fees are payable, please provide evidence within your application of how the shortfall will be covered (approximately £19,000 per annum).

The length of this project will be FOUR YEARS.

Related Subjects

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