AISB opportunities Bulletin Item
PhD scholarship in medical image processing for early response prediction of tumour therapy
PhD scholarship in medical image processing for early response prediction of tumour therapy Novel agents targeting growth factor receptors are broadening the armoury of cancer therapy. Promising results were e.g. obtained with the epithelial growth factor (EGF) blocking monoclonal antitibody (MAB) cetuximab in the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC). This still very expensive drug was cleared in Belgium for reimbursement in third line treatment (patients having undergone prior chemotherapy) for mCRC. However, less than 30% of mCRC patients will derive any benefit from it, but to date no reliable method for early response prediction has been validated. Molecular imaging with positron emission tomography (PET) using [18F]fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) has been suggested as an early, sensitive marker of tumour response to anticancer drugs by monitoring the changes in glucose metabolism in tumours. Recently, FDG-PET has shown to be highly sensitive in detecting early response in other tumours. The main objective of this study is to assess the potential of FDG-PET for early prediction of response in mCRC treated with cetuximab in combination with chemotherapy. The medical image computing task within this project is to develop methods to accurately assess tumour evolution over time by comparing multiple PET and CT scans. This will be carried out using a combination of very accurate registration and segmentation methods, combining the information available in the pre-treatment and per-treatment PET and CT scans. Research will be carried out in the Medical Image Computing group of the Medical Imaging Center in Leuven, Belgium under the supervision of prof. Paul Suetens of the Medical Image Computing group and prof. Johan Nuyts of Nuclear Medicine. The Medical Imaging Center is a new interdisciplinary research centre with a central position in the University Hospital Gasthuisberg. The focus of the research lies on the clinical applications and the needs of a university hospital in the area of medical imaging and image processing. The centre is a joined initiative of the K.U.Leuven (faculties of medicine and engineering) and the University Hospitals Leuven. Over 80 engineers, physicians and physicists from Medical Image Computing (ESAT/PSI), Radiology, Nuclear Medicine, Cardiology, and Radiotherapy are working closely together on innovative applications. The research of the Medical Image Computing group focuses on 2D and 3D medical imaging with a focus on image registration and segmentation. More information can be found at www.medicalimagingcenter.be. The successful candidate holds a MSc in computer science, mathematics or related engineering sciences. Training in computer vision and medical image processing is a must. Excellent English language skills are mandatory. This PhD position requires good programming skills in Matlab and C++. The scholarship has a duration of 4 years with a net income of 1600-1700 Euros per month. Desired starting date: October 2008. Interested candidates should send a CV and application letter to Dominique.Delaere@uz.kuleuven.ac.be.