The mission of the research program of the HollandPTC R&D consortium is to enhance the added value of proton therapy through cross-disciplinary research.

The vision is through collaborative effort, we are committed to understanding, enhancing and improving the added value of proton therapy for patient and society. We strive to create synergy, by starting from our combined strength, considering each of the four partners’ track record and thematic priorities.

Research programme

The research partners Erasmus MC, LUMC, TU Delft and HollandPTC have established a joint HollandPTC R&D consortium research program. Within this program there is also a strong collaboration with the Erasmus School of Health Policy and Management of Erasmus University Rotterdam and with Medical Delta.

The HollandPTC R&D consortium research program covers the following themes:

Clinical studies

To evaluate accepted and new clinical indications and test (new) treatment strategies, including hypofractionation, adaptive proton therapy, and combination therapy.

High-precision proton therapy

To enhance the value of proton therapy through the development and implementation of new technology and methodologies, including advanced (pre)treatment imaging, online adaptation and motion mitigation, use of AI, and automated and probabilistic treatment planning.

Health economics

To assess the health-economic benefits of proton therapy in order to determine its value and cost-effectiveness and to enhance its overall value by identifying opportunities and strategies to maximize its effectiveness and efficiency.

Flash proton therapy

To understand, develop, and clinically test ultra-high dose rate proton therapy, specifically focusing on the FLASH effect.

Interaction in combined treatments

To investigate the interaction of proton therapy with other treatments, such as immunotherapy, hyperthermia, and targeted drugs, with the aim of understanding these interactions and identifying opportunities and strategies to maximize its effectiveness and efficiency in clinical practice.

Besides these five research focus themes, there is also the wish to support ‘opportunities’

Defined as out-of-the-box research ideas and unique research collaborations with major strategic impact.

Organisations and collaborations

The HollandPTC R&D Programme has been set up with our consortium partners Erasmus MC, LUMC and TU Delft as well as other collaborators.

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Current research projects

Fully-automated multi-criterial planning for intensity-modulated proton therapy for clinical practice

Principal investigators:
  • prof. dr. Ben Heijmen, Erasmus MC
  • prof. dr. Coen Rasch, LUMC

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.

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Biological variability in proton radiotherapy for cancer in head and neck

Principal investigators:
  • Dr. Marta Capala, Erasmus MC
  • Dr. Dik van Gent, Erasmus MC
  • Dr. Jeremy Brown, TU Delft

Biological diversity between tumors in individual cancer patients is only partly understood and currently ignored when evaluating the relative effects of X-ray and proton radiation in radiotherapy treatment.

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Development, implementation, and clinical validation of cone-beam spectral CT

Principle investigator:
  • Dennis Schaart, TU Delft

The main objective of this project is to initiate research targeted at the development, implementation, and clinical validation of cone-beam spectral CT (CBSCT) as an ideal image guidance modality for image-guided online-adaptive proton therapy (IGOAPT).

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Research projects