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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

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 

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