In the era of high-precision radiotherapy techniques (VMAT, IMRT) it is crucial to identify the exact extent of the tumor by means of anatomical (i.e., CT and MRI) and functional (i.e., MRI and PET) imaging techniques. Having both a PET-CT and a PET-MR scanner on site as well as a cyclotron for PET-tracer production at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf creates a unique setting for exploring new horizons.

The research group will focus on thoroughly analyzing and subsequently clinically implementing 3D- and 4D-imaging techniques for high-precision radiotherapy of moving targets, e.g., pancreatic tumors. It will furthermore explore suitable markers for reliable tumor localization during the course of fractionated radiation. This applies to both photon and proton beam treatment.

Based on the imaging obtained in the diagnostic phase or for radiation planning purposes, the group aims at identifying new prognostic or predictive markers enabling the delivery of tailored treatment, increasing tumor control while maintaining or even reducing the normal tissue complication probability. Innovative combination therapies will be tested in clinical trials.

With (CT-)imaging facilities being available in the treatment room, dose-guided instead of image-guided radiotherapy comes within reach and will be assessed in collaboration with other groups at OncoRay. Finally, the patients’ choices will be taken aboard when designing complex (IMRT/VMAT) treatment plans with numerous degrees of freedom. By doing so, the level of regret experienced through undesired side-effects is likely to decrease, improving the patients’ quality of life.