Advanced Radiotherapy Group
ARG is a multidisciplinary team of clinicians, physicists, radiation biologists, radiographers and physiologists whose remit is to research, initiate and develop new and advanced radiation treatments using basic laboratory research, pre-clinical studies and clinical treatments.
Professor Alan Hounsell
The objective of the Advanced Radiotherapy Group is to maximise our input into Radiation Oncology Research and Development by:
- Developing new collaborative research programmes in Advanced Radiotherapies;
- Maximising the translational opportunities of our research;
- Inputting into new radiation-based clinical studies at the Northern Ireland Cancer Centre (NICC);
- Maximising training opportunities in radiation sciences;
- Initiating collaborative projects with other focus groups and external partners;
- Profiling radiation-based work at Queen’s, nationally and internationally.
Our research covers three component areas:
- Radiation Biology;
- Radiotherapy Physics;
- Clinical Radiotherapy Research (including radiographer led research).
Areas of Research Focus
Clinical Trials and Impact on Patient Care
A number of clinical trials and studies (BUSTIN, RBM, ADRRAD, SPORT, CASPIR) have been developed and are led by members of the ARG. These clinical trials and studies are open for recruitment within the NI Cancer Centre and cover the key themes of the ARG; biomarker development, advanced radiotherapy treatments and radionuclide therapies. Previous research arising from the ARG has directly impacted patient care, such as the study of PET/CT for Radiotherapy Planning in Lung Cancer which has directly changed clinical practice and been incorporated into international radiation treatment guidelines.
Concurrent with on-going Trial recruitment, the ARG applies state-of-the-art pre-clinical radiotherapy technologies to model clinical treatments and drive hypothesis driven advanced radiation oncology research. A leading strength and area of focus of the ARG is mathematical modelling of advanced radiotherapy treatments from in-vitro through in-vivo to clinical treatment plans and patient outcome data.
Work is also on-going investigating the combination of advanced radiotherapies (such as Stereotactic Radiotherapy and Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy) with new molecularly targeted agents; in the application of image-guided therapies; in ion beam therapies; in the application of fibre optic sensors in radiotherapy; and in radionuclide approaches to cancer treatment.
Some aspects of the work are disease specific, with a particular focus on prostate cancer as part of the PCUK/Movember Centre of Excellence. Other interests of the group are in breast, lung and brain tumours with some members also contributing to other CCRCB focus groups such as breast, ovarian and genito-urinary/prostate.
Members of the ARG are involved in national and international collaborations based around a wide range of studies. The group holds current funding from Prostate Cancer UK, Cancer Research UK, MRC, EPSRC, UK Department of Health, Friends of the Cancer Centre, The R&D Office and the European Commission. Industry support comes from PTW, GW Pharmaceuticals, XStrahl Life Sciences, OSL and the National Physical Laboratory.
Group members have formal collaborations with key international organisations such as the International Atomic Energy Agency and members of the ARG are part of key national clinical and research bodies such as the UK’s National Radiotherapy Board, CTRad and the NCRI Clinical Studies Groups.
The ARG has a number of cross-faculty links with members of the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences (EPS) with on-going projects in ion beam therapies and radiation studies using nanoparticles.