TU Delft, LUMC and Erasmus MC established the PROTONS4vision research project to develop new imaging techniques to prevent damage to the eyesight of patients who undergo proton therapy for eye tumours.

Eye melanomas are the commonest primary eye tumours. The challenge for radiotherapists is to focus the radiotherapy on the tumour without causing damage to the eye. Proton therapy is a form of radiotherapy that has been especially developed with this goal in mind: it can precisely target the tumour and so prevent damage to the patient’s eyesight. However, accurately focusing the proton beam on the tumour requires extremely precise imaging techniques that can identify the exact location and geometry of the tumour, both before and during the radiotherapy.

The PROTONS4vision project involves engineers and medical experts working together to develop new high-resolution MRI techniques for localising eye tumours in 3D, new techniques for radiotherapy planning based on MRI images alone, and a new system for tracking eye movements. The MRI and the eye motion tracking system will eventually be able to replace the current method, which involves attaching tiny metal clips to the surface of the eye.

PROTONS4vision is being co-financed by the STW Technology Foundation, the Top Consortium for Knowledge & Innovation (TKI-HTSM) and industrial partner Varian Medical Systems.

Successful innovations can be implemented in HollandPTC’s dedicated eye department immediately upon project completion.