The standard treatment for advanced head and neck cancer, consisting of surgery with radiation and chemotherapy, fails too often. In more than 1 in 3 patients, the cancer recurs.
Heat treatment makes cancer cells more sensitive to radiation, while healthy body cells are not affected. However, heating the tissue is challenging, especially in the head and neck region with its complexity of tissue types and movement due to breathing, and furthermore the needling needed to measure the local temperature is very unpleasant. In this project, the researchers will develop a means to measure the heating using magnetic resonance, making this adjuvant therapy more practical for routine clinical care.
This research will show whether it is possible to develop a technique that makes heat radiation more focused with the help of an MRI. Further research will be needed to investigate whether this new technique really leads to better chances of survival and fewer side effects.