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Dr Antje-Christin Knopf, Radiotherapy Physics Imaging team

The next generation of image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT) is emerging, replacing conventional X-ray-guidance with treatment that integrates magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This has the advantage of superior soft-tissue contrast and the avoidance of any radiation dose from the imaging itself. Dr Antje Knopf's work aims towards treatment planning based on MRI and PET for both protons and photons. In her previous work she has exploited the potential of 4D MRI to overcome challenges of scanned proton treatment of mobile targets. She will use her expertise to assess the capability of treatment planning based solely on MRI. Her focus will be on an automatic and fast calibration of magnetic resonance images to derive an accurate tissue-specific electron density distribution.

Dr Knopf is also working on automatic real-time adaptation of dose distributions to the patient's anatomy using online MRI, with the aim of maximising the quality of treatment and efficiency of delivery. Her work on the use of PET images to reduce range uncertainties in proton treatment enables her to assess the complementing information from PET images for treatment planning. She is working on ways to employ additional functional information to optimise treatment plans.

Dr Knopf aims to use the opportunity provided by her new Pathway to Independence Award to build up international collaborations to exploit the major physical advantages of the next generation of IGRT. She aims through joint effort to make this superior technology clinically applicable as soon as possible.

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