Research projects of the Department of Medical Physics in Radiation Oncology

Failure of local tumor control is still a problem in about 20% of all cancer patients. Due to this fact, there is an urgent need for the optimization of existing and development of new and more effective treatment techniques for localized tumors. Research at the department of Medical Physics in Radiotherapy is focussed on new conformal radiotherapy techniques with photons, electrons and hadrons. Major achievements of the last two decades were the introduction of 3D treatment planning, Stereotactic Radiosurgery, 3D Conformal Precision Radiotherapy, inverse treatment planning, Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy and Radiotherapy with Carbon-12 Ions.

Besides the ongoing projects in Hadron-therapy, our future work will be concentrated on establishing mathematical and biological models of tumour and normal tissue response and on the consideration of dynamic changes of target volumes (PTVs) and organs at risk (OARs) under therapy, either caused by therapeutic response, by organ movements or by patient repositioning. The approach we are going to develop is called Adaptive Cone Beam Therapy. It will combine conformal dose delivery with on-line imaging of 3D anatomy and on-line monitoring of 3D dose distributions.

The skills of the department cover Computer science, Medical Radiation Physics, Mathematics, as well as Mechanical and Electronic Engineering. Prototyping of software and hardware systems is performed in technology transfer cooperation projects with different national and international companies (MRC-Systems GmbH, Heidelberg, Precisis AG, Freiburg, Accuray USA Headquater Sunnyvall, SMS/OCS, Heidelberg and Concord, CA).

It is one of the major advantage of our department that prototypes of software and hardware developments can directly be transferred within the same building into clinical application in close connection and cooperation with the Clinical Cooperation Unit Radiotherapeutical Oncology (P. Huber). Thus the department is also active in testing and evaluating the new techniques as well as in establishing adequate QA programs.

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