Division of Surgery & Interventional Science


Dr Kate Ricketts awarded funding from WTISSF & STFC

30 May 2014

Dr Kate Ricketts, Lecturer in Cancer Nanotechnology, has been awarded a grant under the Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Fund-Investing in Excellent Researchers scheme as principal investigator for the use of nanoparticles as theranostic radiosensitisers.

Kate leads a small team in nano-applications in radiotherapy and imaging physics and has an honorary clinical appointment within the Radiotherapy department at the Royal Berkshire Hospital. The overarching aim is to develop a system for guiding, planning and maximising delivery of radiotherapy in cancers; nanoparticles targeted to cancer cells will enable more sensitive imaging to guide high precision radiotherapy treatment beams and will localise dose enhancement to the tumour.

The grant will support research set up costs and support a European collaboration with CERN to access radiobiological and proton therapy expertise and facilities in Europe. This will include bringing a CERN PhD student to work under UCL to complete his final year working in bio-verification of proton therapy. This will fill a key gap in Kate's team which currently consists of five PhD students working on the use of tumouroids for nanoparticle uptake and radiobiological studies, mathematical modelling of nanoparticle dose enhancement and clinical in-vivo dose verification.

In addition to this, Kate has also been awarded a Science & Technologies Facilities Council - Global Challenge Programme grant, as co-investigator. The proposal is entitled: A smart imaging sensor for real time transit dosimetry in radiotherapy. It is in collaboration with UCL Medical Physics, Rutherford Appleton Laboratories (RAL), and the Radiotherapy department at the Royal Berkshire Hospital.

The grant will support a feasibility study into the use of a novel imaging panel (developed by RAL) using smart sensor technology to measure and reconstruct the dose delivered to the patient in real time: this will enable dose delivery to radiosensitive healthy tissue and tumour to be measured during treatment with potential to prevent treatment errors. This is a research extension of clinical work that Kate has recently undertaken to introduce a new patient dosimetry technique using measurement of the transmitted treatment beam into clinical use.