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Multi-parametric ultrasound imaging for assessment of tumour response to radiotherapy

This programme of work will identify ultrasound biomarkers indicative of early changes in tumour biology and function in response to radiotherapy, enabling personalised adaptation of treatment for improved patient outcomes. It will also develop affordable techniques for integration of these methods into clinical radiotherapy.

An early assessment of radiotherapeutic response can be used to adapt treatments according to the individual. For example, determination of radiation resistance may identify patients for dose escalation, or for the integration or adaptation (alteration of dose and/or type) of other treatment modalities. Identification of early response to therapy may select patients for dose de-escalation, potentially sparing them ineffective therapy and associated morbidity.

The aim of this project is to combine 3D dynamic contrast-enhanced ultrasound (DCE-US), shear-wave elastography (SWE) and ultrasound backscatter characterization (UBC) on a single ultrasound system. This combined system provides an accurate method for registration of various ultrasound imaging metrics and will enable evaluation of the sensitivity of mpUS to intra-tumoural variation in response to radiation. It can be then integrated into the radiotherapy unit for the purpose of monitoring treatment response at multiple time points during therapy, allowing adaptation of treatment for improved patient outcomes.

This work is funded by Cancer Research UK Programme Foundation Award. C20892/A23557