Every year, around 3.2 million people in Europe are diagnosed with cancer. Treatments are typically made up of surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Radiation Oncology is the most effective non-surgical anti-cancer therapy, used in the treatment of around 50 per cent of patients cured globally.

Across Europe, approximately 950,000 cancer patients receive radiotherapy each year as a cost-effective anti-cancer treatment. Modern radiotherapy treatment planning and delivery is heavily based on imaging and image processing, and technical advances have advanced and personalised radiotherapy treatments.

However, a main limiting factor in providing radiation therapy for cancer treatment is being able to deliver a dose to tumour cells without damaging healthy surrounding tissues.

Dr Manuch Soleimani, from our Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering, said: “Along with CERN, Bath will be developing new multi-modality tomography techniques to image tumours within the body. This is a noninvasive procedure, but will give a much clearer picture to medical teams, allowing them to carefully target only tumorous cells, while protecting healthy cells.”

Professor Manjit Dosanjh, senior staff member and advisor for life sciences at CERN, said: “The combination of multiple imaging modalities is expected to provide increased tumour delineation, targeting and mitigation of organ motion, resulting in more precise tumour positioning and targeting.

“Ultimately, this will lead to improved target coverage, maximal sparing of healthy tissues, resulting in eventually more personalised radiotherapy treatment.”

CERN, or the ‘European Organisation for Nuclear Research’, is the world’s largest particle physics laboratory. Physicists and engineers at CERN are probing the fundamental structure of the universe, and famously in July 2012 found the expected ‘Higgs boson’ particle. The laboratory is concerned with research across the field of physics.

The new research collaboration was officially launched during a recent visit to CERN by a University of Bath delegation, led by Vice-Chancellor Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell.

Commenting, she said: “CERN is synonymous with high-impact, ground-breaking research that is changing our understanding of the world in which we live. Collaborating with researchers there demonstrates the quality of our expertise here at Bath, and the important role we play as a research-intensive institution. This visit to CERN was a valuable first step in building a lasting research relationship.”