AU researcher receives award for particle therapy research
Physicist Toke Printz Ringbæk has just received the German Christoph-Schmelzer award for the development of a new radiation filter which can be used in connection with particle therapy in the treatment of cancer patients.
About half of all cancer patients receive conventional radiation therapy. With this treatment it is difficult to avoid radiation striking healthy tissue. However, particle therapy provides an alternative treatment method in which irradiation is carried out with ions which strike the tumour more precisely and are therefore better at protecting the healthy tissue compared to conventional radiation therapy.
In his Master’s thesis, Toke Printz Ringbæk studied a ripple filter for particle therapy that reduces the radiation delivery time and optimises the treatment of the tumour. This is the research for which he has been honoured with the Christoph-Schmelzer award.
"Receiving the Christoph-Schmelzer award is a great recognition. This is an award that is highly recognised in our research environment and it will therefore also increase awareness of this new ripple filter design and its clinical benefits within this very research environment," says Toke Printz Ringbæk.
Toke Printz Ringbæk is employed at the Technische Hochschule Mittelhessen - University of Applied Sciences in Friedberg, Germany, and is affiliated with the Aarhus Particle Therapy Group, which is a collaboration between the Department of Physics and Astronomy and Aarhus University Hospital. His research field is medical physics.
The radiation covers the tumour faster
A ripple filter reduces the number of energy shifts from the particle accelerator that are required to cover a given cancer tumour. When the number of energy shifts is reduced, the radiation time is also reduced.
It takes about two minutes to irradiate a tumour the size of an apple using an older ripple filter and almost six minutes without any filter. With the new filter it is possible to irradiate the tumour with the same quality of treatment in less than a minute.
"The fact that the radiation can cover the tumour more quickly will be an advantage for all treatments, but it is especially important in the treatment of cancerous tumours located in or around moving organs. Here the tumour is in motion during the treatment, which can make it more difficult to strike it precisely. By reducing the radiation delivery time we also reduce the time in which the tumour can itself move."
The award ceremony took place on 20 November at GSI in Darmstadt, Germany. The annual award is made by the Association for Advances in Tumour Treatment with Heavy Ions and it is awarded for Master's thesis and PhD dissertations within the field of 'tumour treatment with ion radiation’.