Radiotherapy alone or in multimodality approaches is applied in 45-60% of all cancer patients, but despite technical innovations approximately only 50% are cured. Disease recurrence may be due to regrowth of the primary tumor or metastatic outgrowth. Intrinsic and acquired resistance of the tumor and adverse reactions in the co-irradiated surrounding normal tissues dampen a successful therapy outcome.
Substantial improvements are now expected from biologically optimized, personalized radiotherapy. Research in this network is built on the premises that integration of novel emerging radiobiological and tumor-biological concepts into current standard-of-care will improve outcome of radiotherapy-treated cancer patients.
The partners in this network will stimulate outstanding science to understand the plasticity of an altered tumor metabolism and tumor microenvironment, including the immune system, prior to, and in response to radiotherapy (WP1, Tumor Sensitization), as well as related dose-limiting adverse effects in normal tissues (WP2, Normal Tissue Protection) . Research and development of novel combined treatment modalities in these areas will be performed in models as close as possible to the clinical situation to evaluate their potential to widen the therapeutic window beyond standard-of-care addressing adaptive and escape mechanisms to radiotherapy (WP3, Adaptation & Escape)