ISE Professor Tamás Terlaky receives support from VARIAN Medical Systems

Intensity Modulated Proton Therapy (IMPT), compared to Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT), along with its greatly extended capacity to deliver highly conformal 3D dose to the target tumor represents a number of unique challenges for treatment planning optimization. The great advantage of higher degree of conformity of IMPT comes with the challenge that IMPT is more susceptible to uncertainties. These complexities combined require advanced optimization modelling and methodologies to deliver optimized, high quality treatment plans.

The Lehigh ISE Department is known for its unique expertise in mathematical optimization. Lehigh ISE faculty member Tamás Terlaky, in collaboration with Yuriy Zinchenko of the University of Calgary, and radiation oncology experts Wei Zhou and Lei Dong from the Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania has been awarded a two year $282,540 award from VARIAN Medical Systems. Additionally, the award includes an Eclipse Workstation furnished with the Eclipse treatment planning and visualization software system.  

In this project, the multidisciplinary team lead by Terlaky aims to address the clinical need to systematically develop a methodology for truly optimal IMPT treatment planning which structurally addresses uncertainties through robust optimization modeling. This is to be done by rigorous state-of-the art optimization methodologies, of which the applicants possess an in-depth expertise, and the UPenn partners bring state of the art radiation oncology expertise and relevant clinical data to test the proposed methodologies. 

A Lehigh PhD student and a graduate student from the University of Calgary complete the team that collaborates to design comprehensive and robust IMPT treatment optimization models that incorporate both the fluence map and the beam angle selection optimization. Such an integrated robust optimization approach to IMPT would, among other benefits, potentially lead to lower treatment toxicity to the patients and further clinically relevant improvements.

Terlaky:  "We are extremely excited to receive this support from VARIAN and looking forward to further contributing to cancer treatment by our optimization expertise. Such challenging, and critically important problems require multidisciplinary collaboration, and the team is excited to contribute to the 'Cancer Moonshot' initiative."