PhD Studentship: Treatment Planning for VHEE (Very High Energy Electron) Scanned Beams

The University of Manchester

A fully-funded 3.5 year PhD studentship is available under the supervision of Prof Roger Jones (School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Manchester and Cockcroft Institute) and Prof Ranald Mackay (The Christie NHS Trust).

VHEE embraces the energy range 50 – 250 MeV and can deliver doses up to 20-30 Gy per second or more and has the potential for a cost-effective means of cancer treatment.  Studies by DesRosiers, et al in the early 2000s have shown that VHEE radiotherapy has the potential to be a better, yet cost-effective alternative to the photon therapy.  Some potential advantages of this mode of radiotherapy over photon and proton therapy include:

  • Better sculpting or conformal mapping –as there are minimal moving parts with electron scanning and beam steering is continuous.
  • Rapid dose delivery –reduces necessity of preventing patient motion. In essence, physiological motion is frozen with this method –and indeed freezing the motion to less than one heartbeat should be feasible.

This project will study treatment planning, with some focus on the insensitivity to inhomogeneities and the potential for rapid delivery to mitigate motion.  The objective being, to investigate means of rapid and accurate dose delivery with VHEE beams.  This research will employ GEANT4-based Monte Carlo modelling, and will incorporate optimised algorithms to assess a realistic planning system.   The suite of simulations will be complemented with experiments on appropriate phantoms –both at The Christie (for tens of MeV experiments and at the CERN CALIFES facility to validate models for hundreds of MeVs beams).   This research will have the potential to pave the way for the future deployment of such VHEE radiotherapy systems.

VHEE radiotherapy will make a significant impact on treating cancer with radiotherapy and hence will improve the overall quality of life of the people within the UK.  The treatment planning envisaged will entails detailed studies with realistic margins considered.  It is anticipated to lead to high quality publications in this area, and to pave the way for the potential for a new treatment modality –with significant advantages of extant treatments.  In addition to its direct impact on dose delivery studies, it will also have a significant impact on the design of a future linac-based machine for VHEE radiotherapy treatment –with the results of this study providing guidance on the requirement on a the design of a future machine suitable for patient treatment

The studentship will cover the UK/EU fees, and a tax-free maintenance allowance will be paid. 

A competitive funded PhD project (European/UK Students Only)

For further information on the project please contact: roger.jones@manchester.ac.uk or ranald.mackay@christie.nhs.uk

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Type / Role:

PhD

Location(s):

Northern England