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Hoseini S.S.,Hannover Medical School | Hapke M.,Hannover Medical School | Herbst J.,Hannover Medical School | Wedekind D.,Hannover Medical School | And 8 more authors.
Leukemia | Year: 2015

Co-transplantation of hematopoietic stem cells with those engineered to express leukemia-reactive T-cell receptors (TCRs) and differentiated ex vivo into precursor T cells (preTs) may reduce the risk of leukemia relapse. As expression of potentially self-(leukemia-) reactive TCRs will lead to negative selection or provoke autoimmunity upon thymic maturation, we investigated a novel concept whereby TCR expression set under the control of an inducible promoter would allow timely controlled TCR expression. After in vivo maturation and gene induction, preTs developed potent anti-leukemia effects. Engineered preTs provided protection even after repeated leukemia challenges by giving rise to effector and central memory cells. Importantly, adoptive transfer of TCR-transduced allogeneic preTs mediated anti-leukemia effect without evoking graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). Earlier transgene induction forced CD8 + T-cell development was required to obtain a mature T-cell subset of targeted specificity, allowed engineered T cells to efficiently pass positive selection and abrogated the endogenous T-cell repertoire. Later induction favored CD4 differentiation and failed to produce a leukemia-reactive population emphasizing the dominant role of positive selection. Taken together, we provide new functional insights for the employment of TCR-engineered precursor cells as a controllable immunotherapeutic modality with significant anti-leukemia activity. © 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited.


PubMed | University of Minnesota, Hannover Medical School, Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Clinic for Radiation Oncology and 2 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Leukemia | Year: 2015

Co-transplantation of hematopoietic stem cells with those engineered to express leukemia-reactive T-cell receptors (TCRs) and differentiated ex vivo into precursor T cells (preTs) may reduce the risk of leukemia relapse. As expression of potentially self-(leukemia-) reactive TCRs will lead to negative selection or provoke autoimmunity upon thymic maturation, we investigated a novel concept whereby TCR expression set under the control of an inducible promoter would allow timely controlled TCR expression. After in vivo maturation and gene induction, preTs developed potent anti-leukemia effects. Engineered preTs provided protection even after repeated leukemia challenges by giving rise to effector and central memory cells. Importantly, adoptive transfer of TCR-transduced allogeneic preTs mediated anti-leukemia effect without evoking graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). Earlier transgene induction forced CD8(+) T-cell development was required to obtain a mature T-cell subset of targeted specificity, allowed engineered T cells to efficiently pass positive selection and abrogated the endogenous T-cell repertoire. Later induction favored CD4 differentiation and failed to produce a leukemia-reactive population emphasizing the dominant role of positive selection. Taken together, we provide new functional insights for the employment of TCR-engineered precursor cells as a controllable immunotherapeutic modality with significant anti-leukemia activity.


Fix M.K.,University of Bern | Cygler J.,Ottawa Hospital Cancer Center | Frei D.,University of Bern | Volken W.,University of Bern | And 3 more authors.
Physics in Medicine and Biology | Year: 2013

The electron Monte Carlo (eMC) dose calculation algorithm available in the Eclipse treatment planning system (Varian Medical Systems) is based on the macro MC method and uses a beam model applicable to Varian linear accelerators. This leads to limitations in accuracy if eMC is applied to non-Varian machines. In this work eMC is generalized to also allow accurate dose calculations for electron beams from Elekta and Siemens accelerators. First, changes made in the previous study to use eMC for low electron beam energies of Varian accelerators are applied. Then, a generalized beam model is developed using a main electron source and a main photon source representing electrons and photons from the scattering foil, respectively, an edge source of electrons, a transmission source of photons and a line source of electrons and photons representing the particles from the scrapers or inserts and head scatter radiation. Regarding the macro MC dose calculation algorithm, the transport code of the secondary particles is improved. The macro MC dose calculations are validated with corresponding dose calculations using EGSnrc in homogeneous and inhomogeneous phantoms. The validation of the generalized eMC is carried out by comparing calculated and measured dose distributions in water for Varian, Elekta and Siemens machines for a variety of beam energies, applicator sizes and SSDs. The comparisons are performed in units of cGy per MU. Overall, a general agreement between calculated and measured dose distributions for all machine types and all combinations of parameters investigated is found to be within 2% or 2 mm. The results of the dose comparisons suggest that the generalized eMC is now suitable to calculate dose distributions for Varian, Elekta and Siemens linear accelerators with sufficient accuracy in the range of the investigated combinations of beam energies, applicator sizes and SSDs. © 2013 Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine.


Henzen D.,University of Bern | Manser P.,University of Bern | Frei D.,University of Bern | Volken W.,University of Bern | And 6 more authors.
Medical Physics | Year: 2014

Purpose: This paper describes the development of a forward planning process for modulated electron radiotherapy (MERT). The approach is based on a previously developed electron beam model used to calculate dose distributions of electron beams shaped by a photon multi leaf collimator (pMLC). Methods: As the electron beam model has already been implemented into the Swiss Monte Carlo Plan environment, the Eclipse treatment planning system (Varian Medical Systems, Palo Alto, CA) can be included in the planning process for MERT. In a first step, CT data are imported into Eclipse and a pMLC shaped electron beam is set up. This initial electron beam is then divided into segments, with the electron energy in each segment chosen according to the distal depth of the planning target volume (PTV) in beam direction. In order to improve the homogeneity of the dose distribution in the PTV, a feathering process (Gaussian edge feathering) is launched, which results in a number of feathered segments. For each of these segments a dose calculation is performed employing the in-house developed electron beam model along with the macro Monte Carlo dose calculation algorithm. Finally, an automated weight optimization of all segments is carried out and the total dose distribution is read back into Eclipse for display and evaluation. One academic and two clinical situations are investigated for possible benefits of MERT treatment compared to standard treatments performed in our clinics and treatment with a bolus electron conformal (BolusECT) method. Results: The MERT treatment plan of the academic case was superior to the standard single segment electron treatment plan in terms of organs at risk (OAR) sparing. Further, a comparison between an unfeathered and a feathered MERT plan showed better PTV coverage and homogeneity for the feathered plan, with V 95% increased from 90% to 96% and V107% decreased from 8% to nearly 0%. For a clinical breast boost irradiation, the MERT plan led to a similar homogeneity in the PTV compared to the standard treatment plan while the mean body dose was lower for the MERT plan. Regarding the second clinical case, a whole breast treatment, MERT resulted in a reduction of the lung volume receiving more than 45% of the prescribed dose when compared to the standard plan. On the other hand, the MERT plan leads to a larger low-dose lung volume and a degraded dose homogeneity in the PTV. For the clinical cases evaluated in this work, treatment plans using the BolusECT technique resulted in a more homogenous PTV and CTV coverage but higher doses to the OARs than the MERT plans. Conclusions: MERT treatments were successfully planned for phantom and clinical cases, applying a newly developed intuitive and efficient forward planning strategy that employs a MC based electron beam model for pMLC shaped electron beams. It is shown that MERT can lead to a dose reduction in OARs compared to other methods. The process of feathering MERT segments results in an improvement of the dose homogeneity in the PTV. © 2014 American Association of Physicists in Medicine.


Henzen D.,University of Bern | Manser P.,University of Bern | Frei D.,University of Bern | Volken W.,University of Bern | And 6 more authors.
Medical Physics | Year: 2014

Purpose: Modulated electron radiotherapy (MERT) promises sparing of organs at risk for certain tumor sites. Any implementation of MERT treatment planning requires an accurate beam model. The aim of this work is the development of a beam model which reconstructs electron fields shaped using the Millennium photon multileaf collimator (MLC) (Varian Medical Systems, Inc., Palo Alto, CA) for a Varian linear accelerator (linac). Methods: This beam model is divided into an analytical part (two photon and two electron sources) and a Monte Carlo (MC) transport through the MLC. For dose calculation purposes the beam model has been coupled with a macro MC dose calculation algorithm. The commissioning process requires a set of measurements and precalculated MC input. The beam model has been commissioned at a source to surface distance of 70 cm for a Clinac 23EX (Varian Medical Systems, Inc., Palo Alto, CA) and a TrueBeam linac (Varian Medical Systems, Inc., Palo Alto, CA). For validation purposes, measured and calculated depth dose curves and dose profiles are compared for four different MLC shaped electron fields and all available energies. Furthermore, a measured two-dimensional dose distribution for patched segments consisting of three 18 MeV segments, three 12 MeV segments, and a 9 MeV segment is compared with corresponding dose calculations. Finally, measured and calculated two-dimensional dose distributions are compared for a circular segment encompassed with a C-shaped segment. Results: For 15 × 34, 5 × 5, and 2 × 2 cm2 fields differences between water phantom measurements and calculations using the beam model coupled with the macro MC dose calculation algorithm are generally within 2% of the maximal dose value or 2 mm distance to agreement (DTA) for all electron beam energies. For a more complex MLC pattern, differences between measurements and calculations are generally within 3% of the maximal dose value or 3 mm DTA for all electron beam energies. For the two-dimensional dose comparisons, the differences between calculations and measurements are generally within 2% of the maximal dose value or 2 mm DTA. Conclusions: The results of the dose comparisons suggest that the developed beam model is suitable to accurately reconstruct photon MLC shaped electron beams for a Clinac 23EX and a TrueBeam linac. Hence, in future work the beam model will be utilized to investigate the possibilities of MERT using the photon MLC to shape electron beams. © 2014 American Association of Physicists in Medicine.


Henzen D.,University of Bern | Manser P.,University of Bern | Frei D.,University of Bern | Volken W.,University of Bern | And 8 more authors.
Medical Physics | Year: 2014

Purpose: A beamlet based direct aperture optimization (DAO) for modulated electron radiotherapy (MERT) using photon multileaf collimator (pMLC) shaped electron fields is developed and investigated.Methods: The Swiss Monte Carlo Plan (SMCP) allows the calculation of dose distributions for pMLC shaped electron beams. SMCP is interfaced with the Eclipse TPS (Varian Medical Systems, Palo Alto, CA) which can thus be included into the inverse treatment planning process for MERT. This process starts with the import of a CT-scan into Eclipse, the contouring of the target and the organs at risk (OARs), and the choice of the initial electron beam directions. For each electron beam, the number of apertures, their energy, and initial shape are defined. Furthermore, the DAO requires dosevolume constraints for the structures contoured. In order to carry out the DAO efficiently, the initial electron beams are divided into a grid of beamlets. For each of those, the dose distribution is precalculated using a modified electron beam model, resulting in a dose list for each beamlet and energy. Then the DAO is carried out, leading to a set of optimal apertures and corresponding weights. These optimal apertures are now converted into pMLC shaped segments and the dose calculation for each segment is performed. For these dose distributions, a weight optimization process is launched in order to minimize the differences between the dose distribution using the optimal apertures and the pMLC segments. Finally, a deliverable dose distribution for the MERT plan is obtained and loaded back into Eclipse for evaluation. For an idealized water phantom geometry, a MERT treatment plan is created and compared to the plan obtained using a previously developed forward planning strategy. Further, MERT treatment plans for three clinical situations (breast, chest wall, and parotid metastasis of a squamous cell skin carcinoma) are created using the developed inverse planning strategy. The MERT plans are compared to clinical standard treatment plans using photon beams and the differences between the optimal and the deliverable dose distributions are determined.Results: For the idealized water phantom geometry, the inversely optimized MERT plan is able to obtain the same PTV coverage, but with an improved OAR sparing compared to the forwardly optimized plan. Regarding the right-sided breast case, the MERT plan is able to reduce the lung volume receiving more than 30% of the prescribed dose and the mean lung dose compared to the standard plan. However, the standard plan leads to a better homogeneity within the CTV. The results for the left-sided thorax wall are similar but also the dose to the heart is reduced comparing MERT to the standard treatment plan. For the parotid case, MERT leads to lower doses for almost all OARs but to a less homogeneous dose distribution for the PTV when compared to a standard plan. For all cases, the weight optimization successfully minimized the differences between the optimal and the deliverable dose distribution.Conclusions: A beamlet based DAO using multiple beam angles is implemented and successfully tested for an idealized water phantom geometry and clinical situations. © 2014 American Association of Physicists in Medicine.


PubMed | Clinic for Radiation Oncology and University of Bern
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Medical physics | Year: 2016

For shallow tumors, modulated electron radiotherapy (MERT) promises a reduction of dose to distal organs at risk. At our institution a framework was developed in order to create treatment plans for MERT employing both forward and inverse optimization. In this work, an efficient quality assurance (QA) process is established.Treatment plans for three different tumor sites were created using an inverse optimization. These plans consist of 6-12 segments and energies between 6 and 18 MeV. An already established QA process for photon IMRT plans is now extended to additionally handle MERT plans. First, the dose distributions are calculated in a homogenous water phantom. For this task a dedicated Monte Carlo (MC) framework for MERT is used. Second, the segments are applied on a stand-alone amorphous silicon electronic portal imaging device (EPID) using a source-to-surface distance of 70 cm. This device was calibrated for electron beams in a previous work. An in-house developed analysis software, is then utilized for comparisons and evaluation of the measured and calculated dose distributions.For all three plans the calculated dose distributions agree well with the measured ones. Using a 2D gamma comparison (2% of dose max/2 mm and 10% dose threshold) passing rates >98% are achieved. The dose calculation for each plan on the water phantom, using voxels of 0.20.20.2 cmAn already established QA procedure for IMRT photon plans was applied for MERT. The dedicated MC framework and the use of EPID measurements allow an efficient QA procedure in a clinical environment. This work was supported by Varian Medical Systems.


PubMed | Clinic for Radiation Oncology, University of Bern and Paul Scherrer Institute
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Medical physics | Year: 2014

Modulated electron radiotherapy (MERT) promises sparing of organs at risk for certain tumor sites. Any implementation of MERT treatment planning requires an accurate beam model. The aim of this work is the development of a beam model which reconstructs electron fields shaped using the Millennium photon multileaf collimator (MLC) (Varian Medical Systems, Inc., Palo Alto, CA) for a Varian linear accelerator (linac).This beam model is divided into an analytical part (two photon and two electron sources) and a Monte Carlo (MC) transport through the MLC. For dose calculation purposes the beam model has been coupled with a macro MC dose calculation algorithm. The commissioning process requires a set of measurements and precalculated MC input. The beam model has been commissioned at a source to surface distance of 70 cm for a Clinac 23EX (Varian Medical Systems, Inc., Palo Alto, CA) and a TrueBeam linac (Varian Medical Systems, Inc., Palo Alto, CA). For validation purposes, measured and calculated depth dose curves and dose profiles are compared for four different MLC shaped electron fields and all available energies. Furthermore, a measured two-dimensional dose distribution for patched segments consisting of three 18 MeV segments, three 12 MeV segments, and a 9 MeV segment is compared with corresponding dose calculations. Finally, measured and calculated two-dimensional dose distributions are compared for a circular segment encompassed with a C-shaped segment.For 15 34, 5 5, and 2 2 cm(2) fields differences between water phantom measurements and calculations using the beam model coupled with the macro MC dose calculation algorithm are generally within 2% of the maximal dose value or 2 mm distance to agreement (DTA) for all electron beam energies. For a more complex MLC pattern, differences between measurements and calculations are generally within 3% of the maximal dose value or 3 mm DTA for all electron beam energies. For the two-dimensional dose comparisons, the differences between calculations and measurements are generally within 2% of the maximal dose value or 2 mm DTA.The results of the dose comparisons suggest that the developed beam model is suitable to accurately reconstruct photon MLC shaped electron beams for a Clinac 23EX and a TrueBeam linac. Hence, in future work the beam model will be utilized to investigate the possibilities of MERT using the photon MLC to shape electron beams.

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