“Patients with head and neck tumors usually receive six or seven weeks of radiotherapy, based on one single radiation treatment plan made before the start of the treatment. We wanted to further personalize radiation treatment for head and neck cancer and investigated whether it would be possible to adapt the radiation plan during treatment based on additional PET/CT scans. As it turns out, practitioners can easily adapt to changes to the tumor tissue and the surrounding healthy tissue. It was promising to find that the patient burden remained acceptable, but the practice did increase the workload of the Radiotherapy Department, which was already a busy place. Instead of one treatment plan, they had to come up with three for every patient.
Automation may be able to take care of these problems so a large group of patients can benefit from this treatment. I am glad that I could conduct my research at the NKI. All the people involved with my research have helped make this project a success.”
Zeno will defend his thesis on November 1.