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Research Training in 3D Digital Imaging for Cancer Radiation Therapy

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Research training for hadron therapy

Early diagnosis and treatment of diseases like cancer require state-of-the-art technologies such as 3D digital imaging and hadron therapy. To employ such technology for research and diagnosis, skilled researchers are urgently needed.

Health

The EU-funded project ENTERVISION (Research training in 3D digital imaging for cancer radiation therapy) was initiated by a European training network in digital medical imaging for cancer radiotherapy. To form a well-rounded collaborative network, 10 academic and research institutes as well as a leading European company in particle therapy joined forces. Under the ENLIGHT (The European network for light ion hadron therapy) platform, an EU-funded project worked on developing next-generation image-based in vivo dosimetry. The ENTERVISION (European training network in digital medical imaging for radiotherapy) project acted as a complement by providing a knowledge development platform. The aim was to facilitate research and provide training to talented scientists from different fields: physics, medicine, electronics, informatics, radiobiology and engineering. Fifteen young scientists were successfully recruited with varying experience and expertise. They received hands-on training in important imaging techniques. These included in-beam positron emission tomography, single particle tomography and optical imaging. Other important aspects such as adaptive treatment planning, cell irradiation, biological phantom design and Monte Carlo simulation of in vivo dosimetry were also covered. Project researchers also attended several multidisciplinary training courses and achieved significant progress in their individual research projects. As a result, most researchers successfully completely their PhD's while others are in the final stages of completion. The success of the project is highlighted by the fact that a special single issue of the open access journal Frontiers in Oncology dedicated to Particle Therapy has featured the ENTERVISION training programme. Another noteworthy outcome from ENTERVISION researchers is the concept of prompt gamma imaging with a slit camera which enables real-time measurement of the penetration depth of individual pencil beams in proton therapy. This process is now protected by several patents and applications and clinical testing is ongoing. The recruited researchers attended ENLIGHT and EU project meetings, participated in presentations and conferences and networked with experts. Through such training and networking opportunities, the career prospects of these researchers was considerably enhanced. Most have already found gainful employment. ENTERVISION activities laid the groundwork to ensure the availability of skilled personnel in the biomedical imaging sector and hadron therapy in particular. This should facilitate the development of innovative and effective theragnostic cancer management protocols. Given the critical socioeconomic impact of cancer, improved cancer management would increase patient survival and quality of life while lowering economic costs.

Keywords

Training, hadrontherapy, cancer, digital imaging, radiotherapy, gamma imaging

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