Development of New Eye Applicators

Essen University Hospital is one of the largest centers worldwide for treating eye tumors. The treatment options offered include brachytherapy using small radioactive radiation sources. These so-called eye applicators contain β- and low-energyγ- radiators.  In cooperation with the Institute of Physics of the University of Dortmund, the Radiation Physics Section is conducting a research project, funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), that aims at improving dosimetry by optimizing applicator design. This project involves both numerical simulations to investigate the dose distribution of applications and the development of new measurement devices (water phantoms) and detectors (on the basis of plastic scintillators) for directly measuring distributions. In cooperation with the Physikalisch-TechnischeBundesanstalt, we are working on the development of a method for energy dose calibration at water of detectors.


Biological Irradiation Planning

Biological irradiation planning using dose modulation (dose painting) is an approach to irradiation treatment that aims at delivering a locally varied radiation dose to the target area according to the distribution of the radiation sensitivity of the tumor tissue. Radiation resistance is increased, for example, when there is an oxygen effect due to reduced perfusion. However, dose painting relies on quantitative parametric images, which arepractically unavailable in the clinical setting. Therefore, the first phase of our ongoing research program in this area aims at developing a technique that is robust enough to performparametric imaging of perfusion and the microenvironment under routine clinical conditions. To this end, we plan to develop dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI to a stage where quantitative parametric images with the required spatial resolution, coverage, and image quality for dose painting can be generated.