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The Laboratory of Experimental Radiotherapy is a translational research lab of the KU Leuven. Focusing on therapy improvement for patients treated with ionising radiation the lab is strongly tied to the Radiation Oncology Department of the University Hospital Leuven. It is also partner of the Molecular Small Animal Imaging Centre (MoSAIC) of the KU Leuven.

Tasks and Tools

Radiation: The lab of Experimental Radiotherapy, together with the clinical department of Radiation Oncology, will expose UCA batches to ionising radiation for characterisation of their physico-chemical, functional and acoustic properties.

In-vitro and In-vivo Evaluation: The lab of Experimental Radiotherapy will closely collaborate with the Biomedical MRI Unit to perform the evaluations tasks of WP6. The lab will contribute to the in-vitro biocompatibility and targeting efficacy assessment of the UCAs developed in AMPHORA. The lab will also play an active role in the implementation of tumour models, and the protocol definition and execution of the radiation experiments to evaluate the UCA-based dosimetry concept in-vivo using rodent tumour models.

Relevant Expertise: The Lab of Experimental Radiotherapy has a proven track record in oncological research. Research efforts focus on the one hand on identification of novel biomarkers which will allow clinicians to better predict therapy outcome or prognosis. This is essential for implementing bespoke treatment to improve outcome. Its bio-banks and close cooperation with the department of pathology are essential for this part. On the other hand also research is conducted to improve the effectiveness of radiotherapy by exploiting the biology of different tumours.

Within this context, the lab has gained relevant expertise for AMPHORA regarding in-vitro and in-vivo tumour models, growth delay assays, radiation setups, animal radiation experiments, …

KU Leuven and UZ Leuven have broad access to all research facilities needed for this proposal. In the Radiation Oncology Department, all necessary equipment to perform this research is present. As such, AMPHORA will have access to the newest radiotherapy machines and on-board imaging facilities. The Lab of Experimental Radiotherapy is fully equipped to perform all requested in-vitro work. Moreover, being a partner of MoSAIC, it has access to irradiation facilities for small animals, a bio-luminescence imaging and micro-MR imaging unit.

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.