Advanced use of Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Adaptive Intensity Modulated Proton Therapy

Host: Cancer Research Center Groningen (CRCG) Research Institute of the University Medical Center Groningen – UMCG, Netherlands.

Planned secondments: MedPhoton(Austria), PSI (Switzerland), Raysearch (Sweden)

Project description

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) has numerous advantageous properties over X-ray Computed Tomography (CT) imaging such as higher soft-tissue contrast and the lack of radiation dose. However, CT imaging is routinely used in proton therapy treatment verification,  as it can be used for proton dose computation. New developments in MRI imaging may overcome this drawback and improve treatment verification for future proton therapy patients. In addition, novel imaging techniques which localize and quantify biological damage can contribute to more clinically relevant triggers for proton therapy plan adaptation.

In this project, the researcher will modify and apply previously developed artificial neural networks to generate synthetic CT scans from MRI images to enable dose computation (i.e. machine learning). Next, changes in the MRI scans will be related to biological dose distributions and triggers for proton therapy plan adaptation will be developed. Finally, novel functional imaging techniques to assess biological damage and to monitor the treatment will be investigated.

The successful candidate will be enrolled in the Cancer Research Center Groningen (CRCG) Research Institute of the UMCG, under the supervision of Prof. Stefan Both. The UMCG is one of the largest hospitals in the Netherlands. It is a non-profit educational and research organization and part of the University of Groningen (UG).

As part of the CRCG, the ESRs will be embedded in the department of Radiation Oncology, which has a strong track record in the development and validation of prediction models describing the relationship between complex 3D-dose distributions and the risk of radiation-induced side effects. Research activities related to photon as well as to proton therapy are accommodated within GRayLines, an integrated research program including technology development, imaging, clinical studies, radiobiology and HTA. As such, the UMCG provides an ideal environment to merge technological developments with basic, translational and clinical science, and transferable skills.

For more information concerning the research project please contact: Stefan Both

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Academish Ziekenhuis Groningen


The UMCG is one of the largest academic hospitals in the Netherlands and the first to offer proton therapy. Innovative cancer treatment is one of our key research areas. In the field of Radiation Oncology we focus on high precision, innovation and healthy ageing of cancer survivors.