"Image Guided High Precision Radiotherapy“ Group

The research group focuses on thoroughly analyzing and subsequently clinically implementing 3D- and 4D-imaging techniques for high-precision radiotherapy of moving targets, and on imaging for normal-tissue toxicity assessment.

The group will furthermore explore suitable markers for reliable tumor localization during the course of fractionated radiation with photon and proton beams. In the era of high-precision radiotherapy techniques (VMAT, IMRT) it is crucial to identify the exact extent of the tumor by means of anatomical (i.e., CT and MRI) and functional (i.e., MRI and PET) imaging techniques. Having a PET-CT and a PET-MR scanner on site as well as a cyclotron for PET-tracer production at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf available creates a unique setting for exploring new horizons.

Based on the imaging obtained in the diagnostic phase, for radiation planning purposes or during the treatment course, the group aims at identifying new prognostic or predictive markers for tumor control, treatment-outcome and -toxicity. In collaboration with external partners,”Radiomics”-based approaches are applied to datasets of head-and-neck as well as lung cancer patients. Using advanced image analysis tools, anatomical and functional imaging modalities are being assessed regarding their potential to non-invasively detect normal-tissue toxicity or loss of brain tumor following irradiation.

Future Projects and Goals:

During the last decade, several groups have addressed the question of adequately delineation the gross tumor volume visible on imaging and of calculating safety margins for target volume coverage during fractionated irradiation resulting in the planning target volume. In collaboration with several local and national departments, we will embark on in detail assessing the microscopic tumor extension of solid tumor both prior to and after neoadjuvant radio(chemo)therapy. This information is expected to improve definition of the clinical target volume (CTV) and in turn target coverage, and may consequently lead to superior treatment outcome when delivering adaptive photon or particle irradiation.

Figure 1: Quantitative 3T MR images of a grade III glioma patient acquired after resection prior to adjuvant radiotherapy (courtesy: Dr. Felix Raschke).

Figure 1: Quantitative 3T MR images of a grade III glioma patient acquired after resection prior to adjuvant radiotherapy (courtesy: Dr. Felix Raschke).

Figure 2: Proton beam treatment plan of a patient with a cT4N1M0 adenocarcinoma of the pancreas with the CTV (filled red), three implanted fiducial markers (Gold AnchorTM; blue circles), and isodose lines (percentage of prescribed total dose of 50,4 Gy; v

Figure 2: Proton beam treatment plan of a patient with a cT4N1M0 adenocarcinoma of the pancreas with the CTV (filled red), three implanted fiducial markers (Gold AnchorTM; blue circles), and isodose lines (percentage of prescribed total dose of 50,4 Gy; v