The Institut Curie is a major player in cancer research and treatment. It consists of a hospital and a research center with more than 3,000 employees and a strong international presence. The Orsay Proton therapy Center (CPO) founded in 1991 is part of the radiation oncology department at Institut Curie hospital group, which is one of the European-wide recognition as a Comprehensive Cancer Center of excellence. This position will be associated with a research project at Institut Curie whose goal is to evaluate the temporal fractionation of the dose in FLASH proton therapy, and is an exciting opportunity to join the radiation therapy research activities in Orsay, within the hospital and the research center.
FLASH radiotherapy, which involves the ultra-fast delivery of radiation treatment at dose rates several orders of magnitude higher than those currently used in routine clinical practice, allows in animal models to exceed the normal tissue tolerance levels in conventional radiotherapy without loss of antitumour efficacy. The magnitude of the benefit observed suggests that the FLASH effect could be reproduced in human patients and encourages its testing in clinical trials. Indeed, a first patient was treated in 2019 with FLASH electron beams on a location of disseminated cutaneous lymphoma with a good local result in terms of tolerance and efficacy. A phase I clinical trial is underway for the treatment of bone metastases with protons. So far, most of the experimental studies have used a single dose regimen. To move towards clinical trials of FLASH therapy of tumours which would most benefit from the normal tissue preservation of FLASH therapy, ie. large radioresistant tumours, further and comprehensive studies exploring the efficacy of temporally fractionated FLASH-RT are still lacking, but necessary to critically evaluate efficacy under a more clinically relevant scenario.
This project aims to find the optimal time fractionation scheme for future clinical trials of FLASH proton therapy, to determine whether FLASH therapy can stimulate an anti-tumour immune response and finally to develop adequate dosimetry/calculation methods to prepare for future clinical trials. To this end, a series of radiobiological (in vivo experiments), simulations and dosimetric studies will be performed during the project.
Within the radiation oncology department based at the Institut Curie- Hospital Orsay (91), the medical physics' team is therefore recruiting a postdoctoral fellow, with a strong interest in translational research on cancer treatment. As part of the activities of this project, the applicant would be expected to work in the following areas:
- Developments of computational methods for FLASH-PT: strategies to obtain the shortest delivery time on healthy tissues and high dose-rate coverage of large volumes need to be evaluated for the current machine settings and new algorithms, in particular for spot-reduced hypofractionated and shoot-through plans. With that aim, the applicant will parameterise a MC based (eg TOPAS+ clinical or research TPS) dose-calculation engine to be tested for the simulation of realistic clinical treatments, with multi-fields or transmission/shoot through plans.
- Optimisation of dosimetric methods for FLASH-PT: accurate dose determination is paramount for the treatment success as well as for the interpretation of radiobiological experiments. Our group is working on addressing the challenges of ultra-high dose rate dosimetry for radiobiology investigations. Radiation therapy dosimetry (protons and/or electrons), robustness and uncertainties, inter-comparisons and ultra-high dose-rate detectors
Type of contract: CDD
Contract duration/Starting date: 24 months starting early 2023
Working hours: Full time – 39h/week
Remuneration: according to the current standards/depending on experience
Benefits: Collective restaurant, 70% reimbursement of the transport ticket, company mutual insurance
Location: Institut Curie, Centre de protonthérapie d’Orsay, France
The candidate must hold a PhD in radiation physics, medical physics or detection physics • Radiation matter interactions / radiation therapy / dosimetry • Preferred expertise and experience in one or more of the following areas: programming skills (MATLAB, Python, C++) – Monte Carlo simulations (ex: Geant4/TOPAS) – Measurements – Treatment planning. You will also be expected to have experience in working as part of a multidisciplinary team.