Job Offer: Treatment planning for Arc proton therapy and artificial intelligence

13 Oct 2020
Jan Vandecasteele

Radiation therapy is one of the main treatments for cancer care. It consists in irradiating the tumor, while limiting the toxicity associated with the exposure of healthy tissues. Proton therapy is an emerging technology, which has the potential to spare healthy tissues better than conventional radiotherapy. This new technique is in continuous evolution to improve its delivery capabilities and tends to follow the same progression as conventional radiotherapy. Proton therapy was initially delivered by using broad beams, and later evolved to a thin beam that scans the tumor in 3D with adjustable intensity , also known as pencil beam scanning (PBS).

This project aims at developing the next delivery modality of proton therapy, namely, rotational delivery, also called arc proton therapy. Volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) already demonstrated practical and clinical advantages in conventional radiotherapy with photons. This advanced delivery technique is not yet available in proton therapy due to several technical challenges. Our industrial partner Ion Beam Applications s.a. (IBA), world leader in proton therapy equipment, will take care of the hardware development. Our research group is involved in multiple other aspects of this project:

1. Design and develop new treatment plan optimization tools for Arc-PT.

2. Provide feedback to guide the hardware development.

3. Investigate the benefits of Arc-PT through clinical studies.

4. Establish new quality assurance (QA) procedures for Arc-PT.

5. Implement the new technology in the clinical environment.

We are looking for a motivated dosimetrist, RTT, or junior medical physicist to assist researchers in these tasks. The candidate will perform treatment planning with our newly developed tools in order to assess the clinical advantages and limitations of the Arc-PT treatment modality in comparison with the current state-of-the-art delivery techniques for protons and photons.

In addition, our lab is also exploring the use of artificial intelligence models to automate and standardize the treatment planning process. The candidate will also be involved in these research projects, which aim at improving the reliability and efficiency of current radiation therapy workflows by automating some manual and fastidious operations with neural networks. The candidate will collaborate with a multidisciplinary team to produce the clinical data required to train artificial intelligence models

Funding:

There is funding available for 1 year, renewable for a total duration of 4 years. The starting date is flexible.

The candidate should:

1. Be interested in advanced radiation therapy techniques.

2. Be able to communicate fluently in French or English.

3. Enjoy scientific research and teamworking.

Training with our experienced team is possible to complement the planning skills of the candidate. However, previous experience in treatment planning (IMRT, or IMPT) is an asset.

We offer:

1. A project in a hot topic that will ultimately lead to next generation treatments in proton therapy.

2. An enthusiastic multidisciplinary environment in the MIRO team of UCLouvain, which is deeply involved in the first Belgian proton therapy center (Leuven) and with the radiotherapy department of Saint-Luc (Woluwe).

3. A close collaboration with the IBA company, leader in proton therapy equipment.

4. Collaborations with our international partners.

Contact:

If you are interested, please send your CV, a motivation letter and a recommendation letter to Dr. Steven Michiels (steven.michiels@uclouvain.be), Dr. Kevin Souris (kevin.souris@uclouvain.be), Prof. Edmond Sterpin (edmond.sterpin@uclouvain.be).

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