Design And Evaluate New Planning Techniques For Proton Therapy Arc Delivery


Project description:

Radiation therapy is one of the main treatments for cancer care. It consists in irradiating the tumor, while limiting the toxicity associated with the exposure of healthy tissues. Proton therapy is an emerging technology, which has the potential to better spare healthy tissues than conventional radiotherapy treatments. This new technique is in continuous evolution to improve its delivery capabilities and tends to follow the same progression as conventional radiotherapy. Proton therapy was initially using broad beams to irradiate the tumor. The delivery process then changed to intensity-modulated irradiation with the technique of pencil beam scanning (PBS).

This project aims at developing the next delivery modality of proton therapy, namely, rotational delivery, also called arc proton therapy. Volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) already demonstrated practical and clinical advantages in conventional radiotherapy with photons. This advanced delivery technique is not yet available in proton therapy due to several technical challenges. Our industrial partner Ion Beam Applications s.a. (IBA), world leader in proton therapy equipment, will take care of the hardware development. Our research group is involved in multiple other aspects of this project:

  • Design and develop new treatment plan optimization tools for Arc-PT.
  • Provide feedback to guide the hardware development.
  • Investigate the benefits of Arc-PT through clinical studies.
  • Establish new quality assurance (QA) procedures for Arc-PT.
  • Implement the new technology in clinical environment.

The PhD student will work in a team of researchers and will participate to every aspects of the project. In particular, he will be deeply involved in objectives 1 and 4. The fast Monte Carlo dose calculation (MCsquare) and the robust treatment plan optimizer (MIROpt) previously developed by our team will be adapted to the new challenges of arc-PT treatment planning. Advanced optimization algorithms will be investigated to reduce the computation time and memory requirements. In parallel, new QA procedures will be designed to verify the accuracy and reliability of Arc-PT delivery. Especially, 3D dose measurements based on dosimetric gel will be investigated.


There is funding available for 2x2 years. Starting date: as soon as possible.

The candidate should:

  • Be interested in an intensive research experience of 4 years.
  • Have strong scientific background (Master in engineering, physics, or mathematics).
  • Enjoy scientific programming (knowledge in Matlab, Python, C/C++ is appreciated).
  • Have good skills in oral and written English.

We offer:

  • A project in a hot topic that will ultimately lead to publications with high impact.
  • An enthusiastic multidisciplinary environment in the MIRO team of UCLouvain, which is deeply involved in the first Belgian proton therapy center that will be soon operational on the UZLeuven-Gasthuisberg campus.
  • A close collaboration with the IBA company, leader in proton therapy equipment.
  • Collaborations with our international partners.


If you are interested, please send your CV, a motivation letter and a recommendation letter to Dr. Kevin Souris (, Prof. Edmond Sterpin ( and Prof. John Lee (

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Université catholique de Louvain



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