Congratulations to Devin Hymers recipient of the NSERC Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarship

Posted on Monday, May 31st, 2021

Congratulations to Devin Hymers on the awarding of NSERC Postgraduate Scholarships – the  Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarships-Doctoral (CGS D).  This scholarship provides financial support to high calibre scholars who are engaged in a doctoral program in the natural sciences or engineering. 

Project Summary

The aim of this project is to achieve safer cancer treatment with the Filtered Interaction Vertex Imaging technique we have developed. Heavy-ion therapy (HIT) is a type of radiation therapy which delivers dose to a tumour more precisely than conventional methods, eradicating cancerous cells with little damage to healthy tissue. Tumours in or near sensitive organs, like the brain or spine, are often treated with HIT.  However, inaccuracies of just millimeters can cause parts of the tumour to remain untreated, and kill healthy tissue. Currently, there is no clinical method to precisely measure the position of maximum dose during treatment, preventing HIT from reaching its full potential. Our new technique, Filtered Interaction Vertex Imaging (fIVI), will make HIT safer and more precise. Surrounding the patient with detectors like those used at particle accelerators, our newly-developed software tracks the beam position during treatment, ensuring that each dose in a months-long treatment program is delivered as prescribed. In our previously-published work, and our preliminary experiments with plastic targets, we have shown that fIVI can determine the depth difference between two doses with sub-millimeter accuracy and precision, significantly superior to current clinical methods, while also being less time-consuming and invasive, increasing the standard of care for cancer patients. Our next experiments will focus on further validation of fIVI in increasingly realistic settings. Testing at existing treatment facilities, we will determine the size and number of detectors needed for clinical real-time monitoring. These experiments will also feature larger and more varied targets, to gain an increased understanding of fIVI behaviour at human scale, and replicate the types of tissue through which a treatment beam passes before reaching a tumour. This validation will pave the way for clinical trials of fIVI, leading to improvements in safety and treatment quality for cancer patients in Canada and around the world.

Find related news by keyword

News Archive