In the Antoni van Leeuwenhoek hospital, patients with liver metastases can be treated with radiotherapy. However, accurate dose delivery is not straightforward, as the liver moves with respiration and liver tumors are poorly visible on the x-ray images that are acquired on the radiotherapy system.
On MRI scans, on the other hand, soft tissues such as the liver are clearly visible. During her PhD research, Tessa van de Lindt developed techniques to acquire a so-called 4D-MRI, a movie of the organs. This movie clearly shows the movement of tumors in the liver. She showed that with this 4D-MRI, liver tumors can be visualized and tumor motion can be captured accurately prior to irradiation.
As of last year, patients in the Antoni van Leeuwenhoek can be treated on the MR-Linac, a new irradiation device integrated with and MRI scanner. The first patients with liver metastases will be treated using this technique within the next few months. The 4D-MRI will eliminate the need for marker implantation close to the liver tumor, which at the moment is necessary to determine the tumor position using x-ray images. This is better for the patient and gives more certainty on the location of the tumor. In the future, it might help doctors to treat more accurately.
On Friday July 5th Tessa will defend her thesis at the University of Amsterdam.
Practical information about the defense can be found on the University of Amsterdam website.