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Research Group Translation Research for Ion Beam Therapy (E0408)

Group Leader: Prof. Dr. Oliver Jäkel (in ch.)


Monte Carlo simulations of a proton beam in a split-bore MRI for MR-guided proton beam therapy
© Burigo et al Med. Phys. 2021, p. 1855, licensed under a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 license

Our research group focuses on further exploiting and developing the potential of proton and ion beams in radiotherapy and translating its research projects into clinical applications. Our primary research partner is the Heidelberg Ion Beam Therapy Center (HIT) at the University Hospital Heidelberg.

HIT is the first European hospital-based facility for scanned proton and heavy ion radiotherapy and started its operation in November 2009. We contributed through radiobiological research, dosimetry and QA to the first treatment of a patient with a scanned Helium beam in 2021. Currently, we are addressing questions of MR-guided particle therapy like ion beam dosimetry in a magnetic field, Monte Carlo based treatment planning, direct stopping power generation from MRI. Additionally, we are investigating potential future solutions for a rotating patient setup in a MR at a fixed beam line within the ARTEMIS project which is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

Further projects investigate the neutron dose component in various light ion beams and novel detector systems (fluorescent nuclear track detectors) for a direct LET determination. Our open-source treatment planning platform matRad also serves as a platform for many developments in therapy planning for ion beams, like a recently started NIH-funded project aiming at the use of nano-dosimetry to calculate the biological effects of ion beams (click here for more information). Moreover, we are in cooperation with the European Council for Nuclear Research (CERN), to investigate the application of novel pixelized silicon detectors for ion beam imaging and monitoring in a dedicated group.

Together with our national standard laboratory (the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB)), we have recently also been able to establish water calorimetry for ion beams and to set new standards for accuracy in ion beam dosimetry as well as to reduce the uncertainty in measured dose to below 1%.

Furthermore, Prof. Jäkel has been chairing the ICRU review committee on Prescribing, recording and reporting light ion beam therapy (ICRU 93) and is the lead author of ICRU93, which serves as an international recommendation for light ion beam therapy. Also, he is a member of the report committee of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for the update of the international code of practice (TRS-398). Prof. Jäkel also acts as head of medical physics at HIT in order to help translate our research easier into clinical routine.

Current research topics

Selected publications

  • Bennan ABA, Unkelbach J, Wahl N, Salome P, Bangert M. Joint Optimization of Photon–Carbon Ion Treatments for Glioblastoma. International Journal of Radiation Oncology*Biology*Physics. 2021;111(2):559-72.
  • Burigo LN, Oborn BM. Integrated MRI-guided proton therapy planning: Accounting for the full MRI field in a perpendicular system. Medical Physics. 2022;49(3):1853-73.
  • Holm KM, Jäkel O, Krauss A. Direct determination of k(Q)for Farmer-type ionization chambers in a clinical scanned carbon-ion beam using water calorimetry. Physics in medicine and biology. 2022;67(4).
  • Jäkel O, et al. ICRU report 93: Prescribing, Recording and Reporting Light Ion Beam Therapy. 2020.
  • Muñoz ID, Burigo LN, Gehrke T, Brons S, Greilich S, Jäkel O. Sensitivity correction of fluorescent nuclear track detectors using alpha particles: Determining LET spectra of light ions with enhanced accuracy. Medical Physics. 2022;n/a(n/a).
  • Tessonnier T, Ecker S, Besuglow J, Naumann J, Mein S, Longarino FK, et al. Commissioning of helium ion therapy and the first patient treatment with active beam delivery. International Journal of Radiation Oncology*Biology*Physics. 2023.
  • Vedelago J, Geser FA, Munoz ID, Stabilini A, Yukihara EG, Jäkel O. Assessment of secondary neutrons in particle therapy by Monte Carlo simulations. Physics in medicine and biology. 2022;67(1).
  • Vedelago J, Karger CP, Jäkel O. A review on reference dosimetry in radiation therapy with proton and light ion beams: status and impact of new developments. Radiation Measurements. 2022;157:106844. 


For a full list of articles, theses etc. from the division, see here.


Prof. Dr. Oliver Jäkel (in ch.)

phone: +49 6221 42-2420
fax: +49 6221 42-2561

Contact form

The list af all current group members is available here.

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