Engineering in Cancer Therapy

Module aims

To provide an understanding of how the effects of ionising and non-ionising radiation on the human body can be used to treat cancer, and of the technology and processes utilised to optimise its effectiveness

Learning outcomes

Learning Outcomes - Knowledge and Understanding

  • To describe the ionising and non-ionising radiation modalities and their application in the treatment of cancer.
  • To analyse how these modalities interact with tissue and cells and how they can be manipulated to preferentially kill cancer cells while minimising normal tissue complications; including their implementation in a clinical setting.
  • To understand what equipment is needed, how it is used and its limitations
  • To understand the methods required to calculate dose and radiation effects applicable in a therapeutic setting.

Learning Outcomes - Intellectual Skills

  • To apply their knowledge of radiation physics to understand basic radiobiology and interpret relevant case studies.
  • To appreciate the science underpinning radiation therapy safety standards and associated shielding/protection requirements.
  • To be able to describe the principles and key technologies determining the performance of therapeutic modalities, and their associated verification requirements, and apply that knowledge in appraising the choice of technical system in different clinical situations
Learning Outcomes - Practical Skills

Module syllabus

Radiobiology for ionising and non-ionising radiation, radiation protection (including stochastic and non-stochastic/deterministic effects, radiation therapy safety standards and associated shielding/protection requirements), radiotherapy equipment for basic treatment delivery (inc. linac use for x-ray & electron therapy), radiotherapy equipment for advanced treatment techniques (inc. multi-leaf collimator, intensity modulated RT, FFF, VMAT), measurement of dose & calibration of equipment (inc. Bragg-Gray cavity theory, CoP).

Fundamentals of treatment planning (calculating dose in the patient), conforming the dose to the target (forward and inverse planning), image guidance and treatment verification (IGRT technology, patient specific verification (PSV), in-vivo dose monitoring, motion control: gating and compression methods).

Brachytherapy, protons & heavy ion therapy, adaptive planning (auto-contouring/plan of the day), AI applications, Clinical Trials (current inc. personalised RT).

Non-ionising therapy, HIFU, hyperthermia, RF ablation, Photodynamic therapy

Pre-requisites

BE9-MBIMG

Reading list