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Research project

AMPHORA – Acoustic markers for enhanced remote sensing of radiation doses

Status: Ongoing project

This European ERC-OPEN-FET project is aiming at testing and development of acoustic contrast agents for detection of radiation dosis. The project spans the range from idea, through development of new agents, to in vitro validation and in vivo safety measurements.

What we do

About our project

Approximately 50% of all cancer patients receive radiation therapy as part of their treatment. The aim is hereby to maximise tumour irradiation and to minimise healthy tissue irradiation. This implies a need for appropriate dosimetry strategies that can effectively measure the actual radiation dose imparted on the tumour. However, state-of-the-art dosimetry cannot quantify the dose distribution in (and around) the tumour, hereby inhibiting the full potential of radiotherapy.

AMPHORA aims to develop a non-invasive in-situ dosimetry system for radiation therapy with the potential of on-line dose assessment by casting ultrasound contrast agents (UCAs) into dose sensing theranostic devices. UCAs will be upgraded to injectable dose-sensitive and targeted devices that gather in tumour tissue and translate imparted radiation dosage into a modulation of their acoustic response upon ultrasound interrogation. Tailored ultrasound imaging and advanced signal processing algorithms will be developed to extract the (change in) acoustic signature of UCAs from backscatter data and to translate this information into a 2D or 3D dose distribution map. 

The specific objectives of this project are the design, development and pre-clinical validation of the aforementioned UCA based dosimetry system and a customised ultrasound read-out technology.

Our research focus

AMPHORA will have enabled the assessment of the effective radiation dose distribution in (and around) the tumour, offering an advanced and objective means to compare and evaluate treatment efficacy of different radiotherapy modalities. Such novel technology would revolutionise quality assurance and treatment follow-up in radiotherapy, which also unmistakably will lead to increased patient safety and improved treatment protocols.

Moreover, AMPHORA is expected to trigger an avalanche of novel technologies for radiation therapy delivery and to pave the way for other in-vivo UCA based distributed sensing applications.

Funds & Grants

This project is funded by Europe Horizon 2020,

Sub Programme Area: FETOPEN-1-2016-2017,

Project Reference: 766456.



Our team

Prof.dr.ir. Nico de Jong
Ir. Gonzalo Collado-Lara