Zoeken in HollandPTC
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A boost of €4,1M for joint proton therapy research to researchers of Erasmus MC, LUMC and TU Delft

2 December 2019

Today, the next round of funding has been awarded to 13 researchers within the HollandPTC R&D consortium. Their proposals have been selected from the second HollandPTC-Varian consortium confined call which took place last spring. One of the aims of this call for proposals was to stimulate multi-centre projects. And this led to good results: all awarded projects are collaborations between 2 or 3 centres. Marco van Vulpen, medical director and chair of the HollandPTC R&D programme board emphasizes: “It is of great value for the research to bring people from different backgrounds together. We’ve organized HollandPTC around the principle of collaboration and are very happy with the collaboration that we see in the awarded projects. We congratulate the researchers with their grant and look forward to working together.”

The grants are awarded to: 

  • Dr. Remi Nout and dr. Jeremy Schiphof-Godart (LUMC and Erasmus MC): On-line adaptive proton therapy for cervical cancer to reduce the impact on morbidity and the immune system (PROTECT)
  • Dr. Dik van Gent and dr. Jeremy Brown (Erasmus MC and TU Delft): Influence of intrinsic biological variability on the outcome of proton radiotherapy in head and neck cancer
  • Prof. dr. Marcel Tijsterman (LUMC), dr. Jeroen Essers (Erasmus MC), prof. dr. Roland Kanaar (Erasmus MC) and prof. dr. ir. Marcel Reinders (TU Delft): Elucidating mechanisms of proton-induced DNA damage response and molecular signatures to enhance tumor control (PROTON-DDR)
  • Prof. dr. Ben Heijmen and prof. dr. Coen Rasch (Erasmus MC and LUMC): Fully-automated multi-criterial planning for intensity-modulated proton therapy (IMPT) for clinical practice (AUTOPT)
  • Dr. ir. Marius Staring (LUMC), dr. Anna Vilanova (TU Delft) and dr. René van Egmond (TU Delft): Human-centric AI for contouring in head-and-neck cancer therapy.

More information on the projects

On-line adaptive proton therapy for cervical cancer to reduce the impact on morbidity and the immune system (PROTECT)
PI’s: dr. Remi Nout (LUMC) and dr. Jeremy Schiphof-Godart (Erasmus MC)
Aim of the study: To reduce radiotherapy-related morbidity in women with locally advanced cervical cancer by: (I) developing model-based proton therapy (PT) indication algorithms, (II) clinical implementation of adaptive intensity-modulated proton therapy (aIMPT), (III) determining actual dose reductions to organs of risk of aIMPT compared to IMRT/VMAT (intensity-modulated radiotherapy/volumetric-modulated arc therapy) by a prospective clinical trial and (IV) to estimate morbidity reduction with aIMPT compared to IMRT/VMAT. To explore effects of bone marrow-sparing aIMPT compared to IMRT/VMAT on immune cell composition and function.

Influence of intrinsic biological variability on the outcome of proton radiotherapy in head and neck cancer
PI’s: dr. Dik van Gent (Erasmus MC) and dr. Jeremy Brown (TU Delft)
Aim of the study: The main aim of this project is to identify biological factors that influence the outcomes of proton radiotherapy in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma and use them to develop a predictive framework to estimate cellular/tissue response as a function of linear energy transfer (LET) and dose (rate).

Elucidating mechanisms of proton-induced DNA damage response and molecular signatures to enhance tumor control (PROTON-DDR)
PI’s: prof. dr. Marcel Tijsterman (LUMC), dr. Jeroen Essers (Erasmus MC), prof. dr. Roland Kanaar (Erasmus MC) and prof. dr. ir. Marcel Reinders (TU Delft)
Aim of the study: We aim to obtain a biological rationale to further optimize proton therapy, in particular for head & neck cancers. To this end, we will investigate: (I) mechanisms of proton-induced DNA damage repair, molecular signatures, cell sensitivity, stochastic effects (as in genomic alterations) at different LETs (linear energy transfer) and (II) modulators that may be used in combination with protons to enhance tumor control, without affecting or reducing normal tissue damage.

Fully-automated multi-criterial planning for intensity-modulated proton therapy (IMPT) for clinical practice (AUTOPT)
PIs’s: prof. dr. Ben Heijmen (Erasmus MC) and prof. dr. Coen Rasch (LUMC)
Aim of the study: The overall aim is the development and validation of a system for fully automated multi-criterial intensity-modulated proton therapy (IMPT) planning, including options for beam angle selection.

Human-centric AI for contouring in head-and-neck cancer
PI’s: dr. ir. Marius Staring (LUMC), dr. Anna Vilanova (TU Delft) and dr. René van Egmond (TU Delft)
Aim of the study: The main aim is to initiate a research program targeted at the development, implementation, and evaluation of human-centric AI and man-machine interaction for highly efficient re-contouring and quality assurance (QA) in head-and-neck cancer, as one of the enabling technologies and unmet needs for image-guided online-adaptive proton therapy (IGOAPT).