New Sensors Developed at University of Limerick Enhance Patient Safety in Radiotherapy

Researchers at the Optical Fibre Sensors Research Centre, University of Limerick have developed a technology to ensure improved safety and more effective treatment for patients undergoing radiotherapy.

The research team is led by Dr Sinéad O’Keeffe, an internationally recognised sensor technology researcher who has been working on the development of optical fibre sensors for the past 9 years.

Dr O’Keeffe explains; “The sensors are smaller than current technology and so it can be placed at critical organs, e.g. lens of the eye, to ensure it is not exposed to high levels of radiation. Ensuring only the tumour, and not healthy tissue, is exposed to radiation will make the radiation treatment more effective. Many current technologies do not allow for real-time monitoring and so this technology will provide immediate information on the amount of radiation a patient has received and so improves patient safety.”

She was awarded a Marie Curie Research Fellowship to develop radiation dosimeters for monitoring patient doses received during radiotherapy for cancer treatment. The project, in collaboration with the University of California Los Angeles and the Galway Clinic in Ireland, has made significant advances in the area of real-time patient monitoring during radiation treatment and a patent is currently being prepared in the area.

A graduate of the BEng in Electronic Engineering and PhD at UL, Dr O’Keeffe was recently awarded the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Sensors Council Early Career (GOLD) Award. The award was presented to Dr O’Keeffe at the recent IEEE Sensors Conference in Taiwan.

Watch Dr O’Keeffe explain her research ’60 seconds of inspiration’

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