Prof. Dr. Katia PARODI
Department of Experimental Medical Physics, Munich, Germany
Getting to the point in particle therapy
Abstract: The usage of protons or even heavier particles like energetic carbon ions for radiation therapy was proposed 75 years ago by Robert R. Wilson. Since then, pioneering developments and applications have been pursued for several decades at several specialized institutions hosting powerful accelerators for beam production. With the advent of first hospital-based facilities in the 1990s, ion therapy, especially with proton beams, has been increasingly adopted in the clinical setting, making it rapidly emerging as a promising treatment modality in external beam radiation therapy. In particular, the favorable physical interaction properties of ion beams in matter enable concentrating the energy deposition in a well-localized maximum in depth, the so-called Bragg peak, offering optimal coverage of the tumour target volume along with better sparing of normal tissue and critical organs compared to the widely established photon therapy. Ions heavier than protons can also offer advantages from their reduced lateral scattering and localized enhancement of biological damage in the Bragg peak region due to their elevated ionization density when coming to rest.
Over the last years, considerable developments in accelerator technology, beam delivery, treatment planning and in-room volumetric image guidance have entered the clinical routine and enabled achieving even further improved conformation of the therapeutic dose to the tumour target volume. However, full exploitation of the advantageous properties of ion beams for therapy is still hampered by several sources of uncertainties in treatment planning and delivery. This talk will thus review the state-of-the-art and ongoing efforts tailored to reduce such uncertainties, with emphasis on new instrumentation aiming at improving the pre-treatment patient model, in particular for determination of the tissue stopping power relative to water, along with in-vivo verification of the actual dose delivery, or at least beam range, during or shortly after treatment. Moreover, it will address promising new directions paving the way to innovative concepts of rapid/real-time adaptive particle therapy, along with the development of precision pre-clinical research platforms to unravel the complex underlying biological mechanisms toward the development of novel therapeutic strategies of improved efficacy with reduced side effects.
Bio: Katia Parodi received her Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Dresden, Germany, in 2004. She then worked as postdoctoral fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, USA. In 2006 she returned to Germany as tenured scientist and group leader at the Heidelberg Ion Therapy Center, obtaining in 2009 her Habilitation from the Heidelberg University. Since 2012 she is full professor and Chair of Medical Physics at the Physics Faculty of the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU) in Munich, where she initiated a dedicated curriculum for Medical Physics within the Physics Master of Science study.
Her main research interests are in high precision image-guided radiotherapy with a special focus on ion beams, from advanced computational modeling to experimental developments of novel methods for imaging and in-vivo ion range monitoring for pre-clinical and clinical applications. Katia Parodi has been invited speaker and committee member at many conferences, contributed to over 200 publications in peer reviewed journals, 12 book chapters and a couple of patents. For her work, she received several national and international recognitions, including the Behnken Berger Award in 2006, the IEEE Bruce Hasegawa Young Investigator Medical Imaging Science Award in 2009, the AAPM John S. Laughlin Young Scientist in 2015 and the awarding of an ERC Consolidator grant in 2016. In 2017-2018 she served as president of the German Society for Medical Physics, and is since 2021 the Editor-in-Chief of the journal Physics in Medicine and Biology