Coen Hurkmans seventh specialist from Catharina Hospital to be appointed professor at TU/e

February 20, 2023

The appointment of the clinical physicist underlines the importance of collaboration between academia and the clinical world for innovation in the field of health.

[Translate to English:] Coen Hurkmans (Foto: Catharina Ziekenhuis)
[Translate to English:] Coen Hurkmans (Foto: Catharina Ziekenhuis)

Coen Hurkmans, clinical physician at Catharina Hospital and recently appointed professor clinical physics and radiotherapy at Eindhoven University of Technology, has one key goal: to improve the quality of treatment of cancer patients by radiating patients less frequently but with higher doses, saving money in the process.

Using radiation data from very many patients, the research group of Coen Hurkmans has already succeeded in automatically creating a model for patients with breast cancer. The model can process specific characteristics per patient, resulting in an individual radiation treatment plan. Hurkmans now wants to further improve radiation treatment with imaging such as MRI, which allows more precise radiation, and artificial intelligence.

Coen Hurkmans: "The knife cuts both ways. By further automating the preparation, irradiation and monitoring, radiotherapists and lab technicians work more efficiently. This not only saves money, but only improves the quality of treatment. Where fifteen years ago we irradiated a patient with prostate cancer 35 times with a low dose, now - for some patients - a treatment of five irradiations with a high dose is sufficient."

The model approach is now finding application for a subset of breast cancer patients. The expectation is that in five years models will exist for all patient groups. Applying artificial intelligence in the clinic, Catharina Hospital and TU/e are leading the way nationally and internationally.

Fasttracking clinical innovation

The added value of the cooperation between Catharina Hospital and TU/e is that innovative technology can be quickly applied in the hospital. Hurkmans: "Our research group conducts research and stimulates the implementation of innovations. Fasttracking the innovation of care care fits perfectly within the policy of e/MTIC”. e/MTIC is the research collaboration between Catharina Hospital, TU/e, Kempenhaeghe, and Philips.

The appointment of Coen Hurkmans strengthens the cooperation between Catharina Hospital and TU/e. A total of seven medical specialists from the hospital now work as professors at TU/e. And seventeen professors work at Catharina Hospital. With his team, Coen Hurkmans plans to supervise up to five PhD students conducting clinical research.

Applied research

"What we do, is applied scientific research. That's how you learn to understand new technologies. And it keeps the path short to application in the clinic," he adds. In addition to PhD students, Catharina Ziekenhuis also offers places for master's students and qualified medical engineers, students in advanced training after a technical master's degree. Eleven clinical physicists work at Catharina Hospital, eight of whom specialize in radiotherapy.

Media contact

Henk van Appeven
(Communications Adviser)

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