ART-NET (Advanced Radiotherapy Technologies Network) is a Cancer Research UK funded Accelerator Award and co-operative network of 8 institutions across the UK, bringing together the leading radiotherapy research centres in the nation. The aim of this coalition is to pool efforts in research to identify the optimal use of new radiotherapy technologies ensure substantial clinical benefit.
Several centres in the UK are developing Stereotactic Ablative Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT/SABR), MR-Linac and Proton Beam Therapy (PBT) . Without such the structure of a network, ensuring concerted efforts, there is an eminent danger that new technologies will be introduced inconsequently and with variable quality, in a spirit of competition rather than collaboration, being driven by industrial interests, rather than being based on their potential for achieving clinical benefit.
ART-NET is also trying to disseminate new technologies to as many researcher as possible, to accelerate the identification and elimination of potential issues in regards to technical aspects, as well as integration in the daily clinical work.
The network consists of 7 working groups:
- MR-based treatment planning
- Fast/adaptive re-planning
- Motion management
- Functional imaging
- Proton image guidance and dose verification
- Health economics
- Trial methodology
Oxford’s researchers are leading on 2 groups:
The team around Maria Hawkins and Ben George (Department of Oncology) is leading on trying to provide guidance for treatment outcome by obtaining functional imaging data during a treatment course.
Further collaborations including Oxford’s researchers are within two research focuses in the Proton image guidance and dose verification group:
Frank Van den Heuvel, Francesca Fiorini, Anna Vella (Department of Oncology) are developing imaging methodologies to verify proton treatment (particularly the range). The research group around Suliana Teoh, Francesca Fiorini, Joel Smith (Department of Oncology) are attempting to alleviating the impact of range uncertainty, further developments in robust planning are investigated and treatment protocols are generated.
Timothy Maughan and Maria Hawkins are also members of the ART-NET Steering Committee. The other national collaborators within ART-NET are:
University of Leeds (Professor David Sebag-Montefiore), University of Manchester (Marcel van Herk, Ran MacKay, Corinne Faivre-Finn), University of London, University College London (Professor Ricky Sharma), University College London Hospitals, The Royal Marsden (Professor Christopher Nutting), the Institute of Cancer Research (Professor Uwe Oelfke and Professor Kevin Harrington).