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Published: 27 November 2014

PRaVDA project wins IET award for cancer breakthrough

Surrey is part of a research project that has developed ‘cancer seeing’ technology using proton beams – winning an Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) Award.

PRaVDA (Proton Radiotherapy Verification and Dosimetry Applications), a consortium of UK universities and hospital trusts, received the Model-Based Engineering Award at the 2014 IET Innovation Awards, held in London on 19 November.

"We believe that this research will be especially beneficial for childhood cancers and hope that it will revolutionise the way radiotherapy is delivered, greatly reducing side-effects and improving the experience for patients.”

Professor Phil Evans

Professor Phil Evans, Dr Gavin Poludniowski and Michela Esposito of the Centre for Vision, Speech and Signal Processing (CVSSP) were part of the PRaVDA collaborative research team. The team is focused on developing a method of using Proton beams to localise radiotherapy treatment, with the potential to cause less damage to healthy tissue than using conventional radiotherapy methods. CVSSP’s major contribution to the project is its world leading expertise in process and reconstructing complex imaging data.

Over half of all cancer patients receive radiotherapy as part of their cancer treatment, and most radiotherapy is delivered using high-energy external beams of x-rays. However in addition to killing cancer cells, these beams also cause damage to the healthy tissue surrounding tumours. By using a high-energy beam of protons, and using imaging to determine where it deposits dose in the patient, less damage is caused to healthy tissue in front of the tumour, and no damage at all to the tissue lying behind.

Professor Evans says, “We are very excited about the success of PRaVDA and are delighted to have won high profile recognition with the IET Award. We believe that this research will be especially beneficial for childhood cancers and hope that it will revolutionise the way radiotherapy is delivered, greatly reducing side-effects and improving the experience for patients.”

The IET Awards judging panel commented, “PRaVDA has huge potential benefit to society, increasing the success rate and reducing complications of cancer treatment. This Model-Based approach will help to make proton therapy an affordable investment for hospitals all over the world and eliminate the potential targeting errors of this new radiotherapy method.”

The PRaVDA consortium consists of the University of Lincoln, University of Birmingham, University of Liverpool, University of Surrey, University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust and United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust.

Recognising the depth and breadth of innovation in science, engineering and technology, the annual IET awards span 15 categories including electronics, healthcare and sustainability, and are judged by a panel of over 80 esteemed industry and academic experts.

 

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