MRI based radiotherapy planning and pulse sequence optimization

University dissertation from Linköping : Linköping University Electronic Press

Abstract: Radiotherapy plays an increasingly important role in cancer treatment, and medical imaging plays an increasingly important role in radiotherapy. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is poised to be a major component in the development towards more effective radiotherapy treatments with fewer side effects. This thesis attempts to contribute in realizing this potential.Radiotherapy planning requires simulation of radiation transport. The necessary physical properties are typically derived from CT images, but in some cases only MR images are available. In such a case, a crude but common approach is to approximate all tissue properties as equivalent to those of water. In this thesis we propose two methods to improve upon this approximation. The first uses a machine learning algorithm to automatically identify bone tissue in MR. The second, which we refer to as atlas-based regression, can be used to generate a realistic, patient-specific, pseudo-CT directly from anatomical MR images. Atlas-based regression uses deformable registration to estimate a pseudo-CT of a new patient based on a database of aligned MR and CT pairs.Cancerous tissue has a dierent structure from normal tissue. This affects molecular diusion, which can be measured using MRI. The prototypical diusion encoding sequence has recently been challenged with the introduction of more general waveforms. To take full advantage of their capabilities it is, however, imperative to respect the constraints imposed by the hardware while at the same time maximizing the diffusion encoding strength. In this thesis we formulate this as a constrained optimization problem that is easily adaptable to various hardware constraints.