Van Der Heide

Uulke Van der Heide

Group leader, Professor at Leiden UMC

+31 (0) 20 512 2350

Imaging technology in radiotherapy

The focus of research in my group is the use of MRI for radiotherapy. This involves improvement of target definition, the use of MRI-guidance for accurate dose delivery and the study of MRI biomarkers for outcome after radiotherapy.

Target definition based on multi-parametric quantitative MRI is used in prostate cancer to boost the dose to the visible tumor inside the gland. This concept is tested in the phase III randomized FLAME trial and the phase I/II hypoFLAME trials.

MR-guided radiotherapy is studied both in external-beam radiotherapy using the MR-linac currently available at NKI, and in MR-guided brachytherapy. For radiotherapy of rectal cancer, we study the potential of MRI guidance for dose escalation to the visible tumor so as to increase the likelihood of organ sparing.

The MR-linac is particularly useful for MRI biomarker discovery studies. Patients receive an MRI during each treatment fraction and daily imaging of quantitative sequences is feasible without extending the treatment time. Within the MR-linac consortium, multi-center studies are conducted to establish the predictive value of quantitative MRI techniques for tumor control as well as toxicity. This will be used to develop treatment concepts that daily adapt dose based on the changing characteristics of the cancer.

At August 1, 2015, I was appointed professor at the department of radiation oncology of the Leiden UMC, in the field of imaging technology in radiation oncology. I held my inaugural address on June 10, 2016, with the title ‘what we see, what we don’t see, and what we do with that’.

I am active as teacher in the ESTRO school and act as editor of ‘Radiotherapy and Oncology’.

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