Biology-driven proton therapy

While the technology for irradiating cancer cells is continually improving, much research is also being conducted into the fundamental biological properties of cancer cells. The Netherlands is leading the way in research into molecular biology and biomedical research on cancer. The scientists at HollandPTC want to be able to rapidly translate the latest biological insights into improvements in radiotherapy. The research focuses on how cancer cells and healthy cells respond to radiotherapy with protons.

The research questions include: How can we measure the response of cells to radiotherapy in both laboratory experiments and in the human body? Which additional (adjuvant) therapies could help to make radiotherapy more effective? Can we fine-tune the radiotherapy to take better account of biological differences between individual patients?

The ultimate goal is to be able to offer every patient the most effective therapy.

The research is focusing on, among others, the following technologies:

Advanced techniques for translational research, such as molecular imaging techniques and biomarkers for studying proton therapy at the cellular level
New technologies for the clinical implementation of proton therapy and adjuvant therapies, such as ‘sensitisers’ that make specific cancer cells more sensitive to the proton therapy, and techniques for measuring the effect of the radiotherapy
Advanced techniques for conducting fundamental radiobiological research on the interaction between protons and living material (DNA), e.g. cancer cells in miniature ‘labs on a chip’, proton microbeams and nanodosimetry
New clinical technologies for identifying tumour phenotypes
Methods for optimising treatment plans based on the biological properties of the patient and the tumour (e.g. solutions for the efficient collection, storage and analysis of high-quality clinical data and...
...artificial intelligence tools for biology-driven, personalised, adaptive proton therapy based on clinical data)