Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Software for Patient-Friendly Radiation Therapy - The SPARTA Research Project Commences on April 1.

03.04.2013
X-rays can provide much more than radiography for diagnosing bone fractures or internal disease. In the form of high-energy photon beams, cancer can be treated by exposing tumors to a strong dose of targeted radiation.
This type of radiation therapy is currently one of the most important treatment methods for cancer; about half of all tumor patients are now treated with photon or particle beams. The novel, interdisciplinary SPARTA project commenced on April 1, 2013 to improve this method by using modern software technology to support tumor radiation in a more effective and patient-friendly fashion than existing methods.

When a clinician treats a tumor near a sensitive tissue structure such as nerves or organs, special ‘intensity-modulated’ radiation therapy is applied. Instead of exposing a tumor to several relatively wide and strong photon beams, many individually dosed partial beams from different directions coincide. Because these beams are targeted to overlap in the tumor, the highest dose is only attained at this location. Ideally, the surrounding healthy tissue remains only marginally affected.

In practice, however, this method is somewhat limited because a single application of such radiation has very little effect. Over a series of weeks, patients undergo about 30 treatments. During this time, the patient’s body can change because of differences in tumor size or loss or gain in body weight. These changes affect the position of the tumor and thus the target of the radiation. This increases the risk that beams partially miss the tumor and instead damage healthy tissue.

In addition, breast and abdominal tumors present a further problem. Because the patient breathes during radiation, the tumor inevitably shifts. To reach the tumor despite this motion, the clinician must select a relatively large target area, thereby damaging more healthy surrounding tissue than necessary.

This is where SPARTA comes into play. In this research project, scientists from ten different fields develop novel, adaptive, expandable software systems to support clinicians during planning and application of radiation therapy. The overarching aim of SPARTA is to make radiation therapy more efficient, safe, and effective using these novel systems. The project goals include:

• Accurately Measuring Variations
Computer-supported imaging and sensor systems should precisely measure when and how the anatomy of the patient changes both over the weeks of the treatment and during the radiation. The systems should determine the patient’s precise position and monitor patient movements such as breathing. Exact measurement of the individual variations is a requisite for optimally adapting the radiation therapy to each patient.
• Precisely Estimating Dosage
The software should compare the original radiation plan to variations that arise between or during treatment sessions, allowing clinicians to determine whether radiation has indeed reached the planned target. In addition, the program should reliably estimate the cumulative dose that the tumor has received after a certain number of treatments, allowing better judgment of sufficient tumor radiation.
• Intelligently Adapting the Radiation Plan
SPARTA is developing a program that can judiciously adapt a radiation plan to measured changes or even to expected variations between and during each patient’s treatments. How pronounced and regular are the breathing movements, and do these impact the movement of the target region? This information should be incorporated into each radiation plan before each treatment and provide increased accuracy. In addition, planning should become ‘adaptive’, capable of simple and flexible adjustment during the course of therapy in case the tumor shifts due to patient weight loss or small changes in body position. This provides increased assurance that the planned radiation dose reaches the tumor and damages as little surrounding tissue as possible.

• Analyzing the Tumor in Detail
To plan the complete radiation, patients currently undergo computer tomography. This allows doctors to determine the position of a tumor accurately, but its structure only to a limited extent. Which parts are still active and which are already necrotic? This information is important because only the active region of a tumor must be radiated, not the inactive. These details can be determined through special procedures such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or positron emission tomography (PET). SPARTA researchers aim for a systematic investigation of the uses of such procedures for more precise multimodal radiation planning.

About the SPARTA Project:
SPARTA stands for “Software Platform for Adaptive Multimodal Radio and Particle Therapy with Autarkic Extendibility.” The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research with a contribution of almost eight million euro. It commences on April 1, 2013 and will run for three years. The consortium consists of ten partners, including research institutes, medical technology companies, and university hospitals.
Project Partners:
• Fraunhofer Institute for Medical Image Computing MEVIS, Bremen and Lübeck (coordinator)
• German Cancer Research Center DFKZ, Heidelberg
• Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Mathematics IWTM, Kaiserslautern
• University Hospital, Heidelberg
• Hospital of the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich
• Dresden University of Technology, Faculty of Medicine
• Heidelberg Ion-Beam Therapy Center, Heidelberg
• Siemens AG, Forchheim
• MeVis Medical Solutions AG, Bremen
• Precisis AG, Heidelberg

Bianka Hofmann | Fraunhofer-Institut
Further information:
http://www.mevis.fraunhofer.de

More articles from Medical Engineering:

nachricht Medical gamma-ray camera is now palm-sized
23.05.2017 | Waseda University

nachricht Computer accurately identifies and delineates breast cancers on digital tissue slides
11.05.2017 | Case Western Reserve University

All articles from Medical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Strathclyde-led research develops world's highest gain high-power laser amplifier

The world's highest gain high power laser amplifier - by many orders of magnitude - has been developed in research led at the University of Strathclyde.

The researchers demonstrated the feasibility of using plasma to amplify short laser pulses of picojoule-level energy up to 100 millijoules, which is a 'gain'...

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Reptile vocalization is surprisingly flexible

30.05.2017 | Life Sciences

EU research project DEMETER strives for innovation in enzyme production technology

30.05.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

New insights into the ancestors of all complex life

29.05.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>