CBCT enhancement strategies for adaptive ion beam therapy

Host: MedPhoton, Austria.

Planned secondments: LMU (Germany), MedAustron (Austria), UMCG (Groeningen)

Project description

To overcome the issue of interfractional anatomical modifications, state-of-the-art ion therapy facilities are largely adopting the integration of different flavours of X-ray cone-beam CT (CBCT) imaging systems, which allow imaging the patient directly at the isocenter of the treatment unit. In particular, medPhoton has developed and is constantly improving a prototype CBCT system currently adopted in several ion beam therapy facilities. However, CBCT typically suffers from reduced image quality due to scattering and several other shortcomings. Hence, while the quality of CBCT images is deemed sufficient for the task of patient positioning, it is not yet suitable for accurate dosimetric calculations for adaptive therapy.

The first task of the PhD candidate will be to further extend and integrate existing computational frameworks to enable thorough investigations on the potential enhancement strategies of CBCT at the projection and image level with the advanced imaging ring prototype being developed at medPhoton. To this end, he/she will be working on in-silico and real DE-CBCT data of clinical cases and phantoms of increasing complexity, respectively. The study will be especially focused on those clinical entities for which interfractional anatomical modifications and inaccurate SPR represent a major limitation to full clinical exploitation of ion beam therapy. Validation of image registration strategies on a case-specific basis as well as overall validation of the new imaging performance against accessible ground truth data (both in terms of anatomical fidelity and SPR values) will be also performed, in order to facilitate clinical utilization of the developed methods.

Finally, a systematic evaluation of the optimal solutions for realistic clinical indications, resulting in the recommendation for future development paths in isocentric ion therapy image guidance will be performed. The result of the project could thus have great relevance by motivating a paradigm shift in CBCT image guidance in ion therapy, with an expected improvement of treatment quality, which could ultimately positively impact treatment outcome and become a cornerstone of the RAPTOR workflow.

The candidate will be employed at the MedPhoton company (Austria) and will have the opportunity to complete a PhD in Physics or Informatics at the Ludwig Maximilians University (LMU) in Munich, supervised by Prof Katia Parodi. The MedPhoton company develops, manufactures, distributes and maintains certified medical devices in the field of image guided radiation therapy (IGRT). Main product is a (CB)CT solution for (adaptive) particle therapy, that can either be integrated with robotic patient positioning systems, rail mounted or stationary installed in treatment rooms.

For more information concerning the research project please contact: Andreas Schippani

Francesco Russo

Researcher at MedPhoton

I am Francesco Russo, 26 years old and from Italy. I hold a MSc in Physics of Complex Systems from the Polytechnic School of Turin and the Université de Paris, but my trajectory took a transformative turn when I decided to immerse myself in Medical Physics. Now, I am carving my niche in this field as a PhD in the RAPTOR consortium working at medPhoton in Salzburg, under the supervision of Dr. Phil Steininger and co-supervised by Prof. Katia Parodi at the University Ludwig-Maximilian in
Munich. Beyond the scientific equations and methodologies, playing and composing music has always played an integral role in my life, allowing me a creative outlet and escape.

Central to my PhD research is improving the quality of CBCT images. We aim to redefine their potential by employing advanced reconstruction techniques together with correction methods
applied directly to the image. However, it’s not just about general enhancements. A distinctive component of our approach is the CBCT system developed by medPhoton: the ImagingRing . Capitalizing on its unique capabilities, such as Non-Isocentric and from Large to very narrow FOV
acquisition protocols, we envision a workflow where enhanced CBCT images allow online replanning in particle therapy directly on the treatment table. 

Being a part of the Raptor consortium isn’t just a professional commitment for me. It symbolizes a deeply personal mission. The thought that our efforts might touch and improve even a single life is profoundly motivating. Such impactful work becomes even more meaningful in the company of my colleagues at the consortium. Being surrounded by dedicated colleagues and playing a part in a mission that can change lives adds significant value to my daily efforts with the consortium.


Project: CBCT enhancement strategies for adaptive ion beam therapy

MedPhoton, a Salzburg based company founded in 2012 as spin-off from radART institute of Paracelsus Medical University and the University Clinic for Radiotherapy and Radio-Oncology, develops & manufactures robotic imaging solutions for image guided radiation therapy & navigated surgery.”