IMRT is currently a relatively mature treatment technique. It is entirely possible, however to develop solutions that do not simply optimize every individual treatment. The idea then would be to find the best treatments and the shortest treatment period, given the entire clinic’s total limited resources. Other developments of IMRT optimization studies include new mathematical methods of weighing various contradictory treatment aims against each other.
Adaptive radiation therapy
The research department devotes a large part of its operation to adaptive radiation therapy. This refers primarily to techniques of making repeated measurements of patient geometry during the course of treatment and using them to change the treatment so that more patient-specific treatment can be given. The research department has built software tools to study adaptive radiation therapy and conducts simulation studies of the use of this technology. This is an ongoing effort. Other methods of delivering more advanced adaptive radiation therapy that have been studied to date include the utilization of, for example, measurements from PET cameras (positron emission tomography) and the use of information on tumor response to decide on corrections to the treatment. Compared with methods based on measuring pure geometrical changes in the patient, positron emission tomography (PET) takes into consideration the individual radiation sensitivity of each patient.
Biological models involve mathematical models that show how different organs and tumors react to radiation. These models can be used for evaluating and optimizing treatment planning. The Research Department is continually working to prepare for extended biological models and to improve existing functionality. The operation mainly investigates alternatives and extended biological models for both photons and ions, methods for biological optimization and tools for estimating tissue-specific biological parameters based on clinical results.