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Very High Energy Electron (VHEE) Radiotherapy: A Potential New Paradigm in Cancer Treatment

About This PhD Project

Project Description

We seek a candidate to work on dose studies and machine optimisation for VHEE treatment, a potential new paradigm in radiotherapy. This exciting area of research will be conducted at the Cockcroft Institute and NPL (National Physical Laboratory) within the context of a strong collaboration with the Christie NHS Trust and CERN.

VHEE radiotherapy (in the energy range of ~100 to 250 MeV) is remarkably range-insensitive and hence it is particularly applicable in the lung and bowel regions, for example. It also has the potential to be significantly cheaper than several extant radiotherapies in use at present, and will allow rapid delivery of dose –as limited mechanical motion is envisaged in a system consisting of electromagnetically steered e-beams. VHEE has the potential for extremely rapid and large dose delivery to cancerous tissue. It is also able to take advantage of recent in vivo FLASH studies –in which a high dose is delivered to tissue extremely rapidly –allowing complete eradication of lung tumours for example and concurrent reduction in the occurrence and severity of early and late complications affecting normal tissue.

The PhD student will perform intensive Monte-Carlo-based simulations to track the path of charged particles within various media and patient-suitable phantoms. We already have considerable expertise in this area, both in simulation and in experimental verification. Our simulations use the TOPAS/GEANT4 code and experiments are conducted at the Cockcroft Institute’s VELA/CLARA facility, and the CLEAR facility at CERN. We also intend to perform dosimetry on phantoms with the help of precise measurements through a collaboration with colleagues at NPL. Collaboration with several further overseas institutes is anticipated. The successful candidate will be expected to travel to foster international partnerships, present results at conferences, and to continue studies in the ongoing programme. The dose studies will entail:

• Verification of dose simulations on experimental phantoms –with an emphasis on absolute dose measurement.
• Assessing both longitudinal and transverse dose penetration profiles.
• Verification of the influence of heterogeneous media.
• Assessing the influence of bone-like tissue on VHEE beam penetration.
• Verification of the influence of electron beam profile on dose delivery and conformity to samples.
• Assessment of the practicality of “freezing” physiological motion of patient.
• Engaging in a treatment planning study with a view to highlighting advantages –focussing on rapid FLASH delivery, relative insensitivity to inhomogeneities, and dose conformity.

The applicant will be expected to have a first or upper second class degree in physics, medical physics, electrical engineering or other appropriate qualification. A full graduate programme of training and development is provided by the Cockcroft Institute. The student will register at the University of Manchester. and will join a vibrant group of students already making significant progress in this area

Contact for further information about this exciting opportunity:
Prof. Roger M. Jones (), Dr. Deepa Angal-Kalinin (), or Dr. Anna Subiel ()

How to apply: http://tinyurl.com/ycoo62xt
Anticipated Start Date: September 2019 for 3.5 Years

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