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 date1 October 2022
Funding sourceUniversity of Surrey
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.
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 linksUK Health Security Agency National Physical Laboratory
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.