Robust Intensity Modulated Proton Therapy for Lung Cancer

Project: Research project

Project Details


Robust Intensity Modulated Proton Therapy for Lung Cancer Robust Intensity-Modulated Proton Therapy for Lung Cancer Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths and the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in the US, claiming more lives each year than colon, prostate, ovarian and breast cancers combined1. Intensity-Modulated Proton Therapy (IMPT) is the revolutionary radiotherapy because of its extraordinary capability of precisely depositing maximum cell killing energy in tumors and minimum cell killing energy in surrounding healthy tissues. However, presently, the use of IMPT is limited to a very small fraction of lung cancer patients with small respiratory tumor motion and large tumor. Therefore, there is a clinical need to make IMPT widely accessible to more lung cancer patients. To address this clinical need, we propose to establish a new collaboration between ASU and Mayo Clinic. The Mayo Clinic team is experienced in proton therapy and Mayo Clinic is building two next generation proton centers (one in Rochester, MN and the other in Phoenix, AZ), which will make Mayo Clinic the largest particle therapy center in the world. The ASU team is a recognized leader in biomedical informatics for enhancing medical diagnosis and therapy through computer-physician synergy: In addition to their strong publication record, they hold 34 US patents, and their research has led to two FDA-approved systems. The significance of this project lies in overcoming the limitations of IMPT for lung cancer patients by systematically addressing the following limiting factors of IMPT through the integration of clinical expertise at Mayo Clinic with informatics and imaging expertise at ASU: (1) static uncertainties concerning the position of a patient relative to the beam, the distance protons travel in patients, CT artifacts etc; and (2) time-dependent uncertainties concerning respiratory motion, tumor shrinkage, weight loss etc. An expected outcome from this research is a set of novel algorithms that can achieve robustness quantification (quantifying the sensitivity of a proton therapy plan to these limiting factors to guarantee clinically acceptable therapeutic outcomes) and robust optimization (delivering precise and predictable proton plans to ensure the highest clinical benefit to the patients). This project has important clinical impacts because it overcomes the problems which have limited the use of IMPT to a tiny minority of lung cancer patients. Conquering these limitations will allow our integrated team to make IMPT widely accessible to patients with lung cancer and potentially changes the standard of care for lung cancer patients. Furthermore, we expect our research to be applicable to other cancers, especially those in which respiratory motion is a problem such as esophagus and liver cancer. This project is innovative because (1) it integrates concepts/methods from quantum physics, hydrodynamics, informatics, and operational research; and (2) it develops a novel two-level hierarchical hybrid parallelization scheme for efficient clinical usage. Successful completion of this project is expected because (1) our team is uniquely capable and well prepared to conduct this project, and (2) we have performed a preliminary study (detailed in 3.2), demonstrating the feasibility to achieve the specific aims of the proposed research. Given the significance and innovation of our proposed research, we anticipate that this seed project will prepare us to secure a grant from the Mayo Discovery Translation Program and lead to a comprehensive NCI-funded project on Robust Intensity-Modulated Proton Therapy for Lung Cancer. Keywords: Proton Therapy, Computerized Treatment Planning, Intensity-Modulated Proton Therapy (IMPT), Robust Optimization, Biomedical Informatics, Imaging, Lung Cancer.
Effective start/end date1/1/1512/31/15


  • ASU: Mayo Seed Grant: $40,000.00


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