Development of biological dosimetry for optimization of proton and FLASH radiotherapy

The project aims to investigate the use of specific biomarkers in the context of FLASH and proton irradiation to validate their use for this type of exposure specifically in the context of radiation oncology, filling in gaps in knowledge to assist with the transition to personalized medicine in radiotherapy.

Start date
1 October 2022
Duration
4 years
Application deadline
Funding source
University of Surrey
Funding information

The studentship is fully funded which includes University fees, UKRI stipend + £3,000 for the full 4 years, and £1,000 per annum training grant for the first 3 years of the project.

About

Biological dosimetry (the measurement of biological response as an indicator of ionising radiation dose) is a well-developed radiobiological technique which has reached the level of international standardization. Dosimetric biomarkers have been extensively used to support radiation emergency response, and their use has been indicated in clinical settings. However, to date, no robust standards or widely accepted protocols exist for application of these endpoints to support medical uses of radiation.

Recent technological development has resulted in a variety of radiotherapy modalities (i.e., proton therapy, FLASH) which can be used in combination with a range of radio-sensitizer/protection drugs and immune-response approaches. Selection of the appropriate radiation modality and treatment schedule is critical to optimize treatment for the individual patient. Leveraging biomarkers and biodosimetry approaches for radiation oncology would potentially support patient stratification and contribute to the development of personalized treatment regimes by matching patient radiosensitivity with optimum dose and radiation modality.

The project aims to study specific biomarkers in the context of FLASH and proton irradiation to validate their use for this type of exposure specifically in the context of radiation oncology, filling in gaps in knowledge to assist with the transition to personalized medicine in radiotherapy.

Blood samples from healthy normal controls will be exposed to a range of different types of treatment modalities, to aid biomarker development and/or validation. A multidisciplinary approach underpinning the radiation biology/biodosimetry tools and techniques with physical dosimetry and/or Monte Carlo modelling will be employed, and clinical input is also anticipated towards the later stages of the project.

The project is a collaboration between the University of Surrey, the National Physical Laboratory and the UK Health Security Agency providing the student with a unique and wide range of expertise.

Related links
UK Health Security Agency National Physical Laboratory

Eligibility criteria

UK applicants who hold a First or 2:1 UK honours degree in a relevant subject area, or a 2:2 alongside a good masters degree (a distinction is usually required).

If English is not your first language, you will be required to have an IELTS Academic of 6.5 or above (or equivalent), with no sub-test score below 6.

How to apply

Applications can be made through our Physics PhD course page. Please state the project title and supervisor clearly on your application.

Physics PhD


Application deadline

Contact details

Giuseppe Schettino
14 BC 04
Telephone: +44 (0)1483 689320
E-mail: giuseppe.schettino@surrey.ac.uk
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