3D Printed Anthropomorphic Phantoms for Guided Radiotherapy

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: Engineering and Physical Sciences


MRI guided radiotherapy has the potential to transform treatment outcomes in several challenging cancers, including lung and pancreas, through daily treatment adaptation and real time motion tracking. Consideration for patient comfort means that scans must be as short as possible, however it is essential that geometric fidelity be maintained in the images. Phantoms are objects designed to respond in imaging similarly to human tissues and organs, and have an essential role to play in validating new imaging techniques by providing a well-defined "ground truth" to compare against experimental results. However, current generation phantoms are simple geometrical structures which do not adequately capture the nuances of real patient scanning.1

As well as their use in research for improving imaging and radiotherapy techniques, more faithful phantoms will also have an important role to play in medical practice. For example, in multi-centre clinical trials, phantoms moved between centres can calibrate the performance of different scanners and processing pipelines. Phantoms are also used in the clinic for QA of scanner accuracy, which is particularly important in guided radiotherapy treatment (e.g. MR-Linac) because the images are guiding radiation beams directly. Current phantoms are a poor surrogate for patient geometry, hampering the development and clinical adoption of new imaging techniques and treatment protocols.

In this project, we propose to use multi-material 3D printing to produce phantoms with a step-change in fidelity, while also developing multi-material silicone AM techniques with broader relevance in biomedicine.

Planned Impact

There are numerous beneficiaries of this Advanced Biomedical Materials CDT. Firstly and of short term impact are the PhD students themselves. They will receive extensive research specific and professional/transferable skills training throughout the 4 years of the programme. They will have access to state of the art facilties and world leading academics, industry and clinicians. The training and potential placements are designed to maximise the impact of their research in terms of dissemination and movement of their research along the translation pathway.

Longer term benefits are that this distinct cohort will become the future UK Biomedical Materials leaders and be able to use their bespoke training and network within the cohort to collaborate on future worldwide funding opportunities and drive UK research in this area.

UK and international academics will benefit as they will gain the next generation of highly skilled postdoctoral researchers with knowledge and expertise not only in their specific research area but of industry, regulatory and clinical aspects.

UK and international industry will benefit - in the short term they will gain academic based research to further develop products and in the longer term have a pool of highly skilled graduates.

Clinicians will benefit from collaborative research and also the development of new and novel products to enhance the treatment of a variety of trauma and disease based needs from biomaterials.

The public will benefit as end users as patients that will have their quality of life improved from the products developed in the CDT and will be educated in novel technologies and materials to repair the human body. The UK economy will benefit from the reduced healthcare costs associated with the new and improved medical products developed in this CDT and subsequently from the trained graduates. The UK economy will also benefit from the increased revenue from medical sales products from the UK industrial partners we will be working with.

The impact of this CDT will be realised by direct academic, clinical and industrial engagement with the students allowing efficient and state of the at training and fast translation of developing products. Students will also be trained in knowledge exchange and will use these skills to disseminate their research to, and liaise with, the key stakeholders - the academic, industrial, clinical and public sectors. We will ensure widening participation routes are addressed in this CDT in order to include equality and diversity not only in our initial CDT student cohort but in future researcher generations to come.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/S022201/1 31/03/2019 29/09/2027
2263185 Studentship EP/S022201/1 30/09/2019 29/09/2023 Yasmine Osmani