Image Advanced Technologies in Radiation Therapy

Advanced Technologies in Radiation Therapy

Prof. J. Wilkens, Medical Physics, TUM / Klinikum rechts der Isar

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Research Focus: Medical physics: radiotherapy with proton and ion beams, optimization techniques for treatment planning, radiobiological modelling

The key research topic of our group is to investigate the medical physics aspects of the potential therapeutic use of laser-accelerated proton and ion beams in cancer therapy. This includes not only the adaptation of existing methods from “conventional” particle therapy physics but also the development of new concepts for dose delivery and treatment planning to utilize the full potential of laser-accelerated particle beams. In particular, we are interested in developing fast and robust optimization tools for treatment planning that allow for efficient and safe delivery of the prescribed dose. In the long run, we are planning to set up proof-of-principle experiments to show the technical feasibility of intensity modulated radiation therapy using laser-accelerated protons or ions by irradiating large fields with the required modulation both laterally and in depth (energy). Additionally, we study radiobiological effects of particle beams in general (in particular their relative biological effectiveness, the dependence on oxygen partial pressure and fractionation effects), and we aim to improve the quality of biological models in order to facilitate their application in clinical practice.

Besides these activities we are also working on many other aspects of modern treatment technologies in radiation oncology like intensity modulated, image guided radiotherapy for photons and protons/ions, biologically adaptive planning strategies (e.g. based on dynamic biological imaging), analysis of uncertainties and advanced optimization techniques for treatment planning.

Contribution to IMPRS curriculum:

Biomedical Physics I Biomedical Physics II

Lecturer: Jan Wilkens (winter term, 2 SWS lecture + 2 SWS seminar)
Lecturer: Jan Wilkens (summer term, 2 SWS lecture + 2 SWS seminar)

This set of lectures and the accompanying seminars deal with the physical fundamentals of biomedical applications. They cover the physical principles of the most important biomedical imaging techniques (e.g. x-ray imaging, computed tomography, nuclear medicine including positron emission tomography and single photon emission computed tomography, functional/biological imaging techniques, magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy, ultrasound, optical imaging), a description of the interaction of (ionising) radiation with matter, and the physical principles of radiotherapeutic applications (e.g. brachytherapy, teletherapy with electrons and ultra-hard x-rays, proton therapy and ion therapy, image guided radiotherapy and treatment planning strategies). This is complemented by a description of the basic principles of dosimetry and radiation biology. Additionally, optical methods used for biomedical applications are introduced (e.g. spectroscopic methods, laser applications in medicine), including the various types of laser-tissue-interactions.