Chemo-radiotherapy versus standard radiotherapy in breast cancer – a computational and biological perspective


  • Call:

    ProtoTera Call 2023/2

  • Academic Year:


  • Supervisor:

    Rita Melo

  • Co-Supervisor:

    Joao Seco

  • Host Institution:

    C2TN - Centro de Ciências e Tecnologias Nucleares

  • Granting Degree Institution:

    Instituto Superior Técnico (Universidade de Lisboa)

  • Typology:


  • Abroad Institution:

    Instituto Superior Técnico (Universidade de Lisboa)

  • Abroad Supervisor:

    João Galamba Correia

  • Abstract:

    The combined use of chemotherapy and radiotherapy has the potential to significantly improve the cancer treatment. Proton therapy is predicted to result in reduced irradiation of off-target tissue, sparing healthy tissue, and an improved patient prognosis. HER2+ breast cancer had significantly better response rates when treated with HER2-targeted chemotherapy as doxorubicin plus HER2-targeted blockade (trastuzumab). The aim of this study is to address a current medical challenge in cancer treatment using HER2 breast cancer as a model. In this project we will take advantage of the potential of viral-type particles as nanocarriers, delivering the chemotherapy agent directly to the target and thereby study the synergistic effect of the chemotherapy agent with RT-induced ROS-mediated signals in cell receptors. The project will go beyond the state of the art, exploring complementary knowledge of the research groups involved in the areas of medical physics, radiopharmaceutical chemistry, and data-driven and computational chemistry, to systematically explore the potential synergistic effect between the use of Radiotherapy and Chemotherapy. This PhD project involves an exciting research environment, having access to the latest technologies in two academic research institutions of outstanding level: the Centro de Ciências e Tecnologias Nucleares (C2TN) from IST/UL; and the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), namely on the Division of Biomedical Physics in Radiation Oncology group, a reference proton therapy center in Heidelberg. This work will also benefit from the ongoing collaboration with Irina S. Moreira, a top-rated researcher in data-driven and computational tools from University of Coimbra. The experimental work will be performed both at C2TN and DKFZ. These areas of research are within the scope of the FCT and the ProtoTera association, whose main long-term objective is to provide/contribute to cutting-edge therapeutic options for cancer patients.

Completion status

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