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New NIH R01 Grant Received

Drs. Lei Ren (PI) and Fang-Fang Yin (co-PI) in Radiation Oncology have recently received an R01 grant titled: ”Hybrid virtual-MRI/CBCT: A new paradigm for image guidance in liver SBRT”. The project focuses on establishing a novel cone-beam CT (CBCT) system that generates hybrid virtual-MRI/CBCT images for image guidance in liver SBRT treatments.

The precision of image guidance is highly correlated to the tumor control probability and normal tissue toxicities of radiation therapy treatments. Currently, CBCT is widely available on most modern radiotherapy machines, and has become the standard imaging technique for image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT). However, CBCT has very limited accuracy in localizing liver tumors due to its poor soft-tissue contrast.  The project proposes to address this challenge by developing several state-of-the-art software techniques in image reconstruction, augmentation, registration, and deep learning, to generate virtual MRI on standard CBCT-Radiotherapy machines to drastically improve the precision of image guidance for liver SBRT. The software-based approach ensures that the techniques can be widely implemented on most modern radiotherapy machines with minimal cost and interference with the machine. The long-term goal is to establish the next generation of CBCT system with virtual multi-modality imaging capabilities, which can create a paradigm shift in IGRT by enabling a new era of high-precision virtual multi-modality guided radiotherapy. The enhancement of image guidance accuracy can lead to a breakthrough in escalating the tumor control and minimizing the toxicities of liver SBRT, as well as treatments of other sites with soft tissue tumors.