High-precision proton therapy
What makes proton therapy different to ‘conventional’ radiotherapy? The difference lies in the physical properties of protons, which differ fundamentally from those of the photons normally used for radiotherapy. This allows the effect of the radiation to be very precisely limited to the tumour itself. This increased precision of the radiation dose requires a similar level of precision in the implementation of the therapy.
Researchers at HollandPTC are working on technical innovations that make it possible to make optimum use of the special properties of protons. The common objective of these innovations is precise planning of the radiotherapy based on information about the tumour obtained, for example, from MRI or CT scans (image guidance). The researchers hope this will maximise the effect of protons on cancer cells while at the same time minimising damage to healthy cells.
The research questions include: How can we improve the response to movements of the tumour and surrounding tissues during radiotherapy? How can we measure the radiation dose while it is actually being administered to the tumour? How can we adapt the radiotherapy plan during treatment to respond as effectively as possible to changes in the tumour and the surrounding tissue?