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BSc assignment: process optimization with Elekta

global Exploration of brachytherapy processes in simple, advanced, and high-end hoSPital settings

Elekta, business line brachytherapy, Veenendaal – July 2022


Elekta AB (headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden) is a leading innovator in precision radiation therapy solutions and a market leader in brachytherapy. Every year millions of patients are treated with one of Elekta’s radiation therapy devices.

Brachytherapy is a type of radiation therapy that uses a small isotope (Ir192) to locally treat cancer. The isotope can be brought into a lesion or close to a lesion to deliver radiation to the cancerous tissue while at the same time minimizing radiation to healthy tissues. Elekta’s brachytherapy business line (and Dutch head office) is located in Veenendaal, the Netherlands. Here the medical devices required for brachytherapy are designed and manufactured.

At the moment, Brachytherapy is a complex and elaborate process; it takes several hours to prepare a patient and deliver one fraction of radiation. Required functions in the process includes diagnostic imaging, implantation of one or multiple applicators, treatment planning, treatment delivery and follow-up. Several verification steps are implemented to assure a safe and correct treatment. Multiple roles, departments, and devices are involved.

The brachytherapy treatment process may differ within and between centers depending on the type of cancer being treated, the patient, physician’s preference, availability of personnel and equipment (e.g., MRI versus CT based), hospital logistics (distances between involved departments such as radiology, surgery, and RT), treatment reimbursement and associated costs.

Given the high pressure on reducing healthcare expenditure and the current complexity of brachytherapy treatment, Elekta aims to optimize the brachytherapy treatment process in the different clinical settings at customer sites worldwide. This could either be via a new product offering or by improving the clinical application (e.g. resource optimized workflows). Ultimately the goal is to achieve improved clinical outcomes for the patient, higher adoption of the therapy, and brachytherapy accessibility for any future patient independent of where he or she lives around the globe.

Research Objective

The use of brachytherapy is at this moment a not interchangeable part within the standard of care when treating for instance cervical cancer and prostate cancer. To better understand the current brachytherapy utilization and why hospitals have implemented today’s workflows for these cancers, Elekta has started a project to map out the various treatment processes. Objectives defined are the similarities and differences between the two indications (cervical versus prostate) in simple (e.g., representative hospitals in developing countries), advanced (e.g., a standard hospital in the Western world), and high-end hospital settings (e.g., academic institutes in high-income countries).

Main question:

Within the three settings mentioned (simple, advanced, and high-end), what kind of brachytherapy treatment processes are implemented in the different parts of the world for the two cancer indications (cervical or prostate) at this moment

Secondary questions:

Eventually, the obtained information will be used to move to the next step which will be to simulate how changes in technology or clinical application may impact the process.

Profile Intern

We are looking for Bachelor students Industrial Engineering and Management or Health science that are interested in helping us understand how we can improve our offering to our customers. Our team within Elekta is dedicated and focused and we expect the same from you. We are looking for candidates with a positive and optimistic attitude and strong written and verbal communication skills.



Are you motivated to add your talent to Elekta’s united purpose to give hope to everyone dealing with cancer? Send a motivation letter and CV to Gréanne Leeftink (Assistant professor within the department Industrial Engineering and Business Information Systems, UT) and Ate Loonstra (Senior Manager Clinical Evaluation & Studies, Elekta).

We look forward to hearing from great candidates