BNCT @ Pavia

Boron Neutron Capture Therapy - research in Italy

Nicoletta Protti

  • Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Pavia & INFN
  • Department of Physics, room 1-38, via Bassi 6, 27100 Pavia
  • nicoletta.protti@pv.infn.it
  • office: +39 0382 987635 - lab: +39 0382 987304

Research Interest

My research activity addresses the investigation and development of Boron Neutron Capture Therapy (BNCT) for cancer treatment. In particular, I am involved in the design and realization of in vivo tests to prove the effectiveness and feasibility of BNCT in tumours models induced in small animals using both clinically approved NCT-carriers and innovative ones. In this frame, I am interested in the so called theranostic agents, that means dual molecules carrying an NCT-core to perform the therapy together with an imaging probe to allow pre- and post-irradiation diagnostic monitoring. More recently, I started to collaborate in a project which aims to develop a SPECT system based on cutting-edge solid state detectors (CdZnTe alloy) to perform in real time BNCT dose monitoring. I am presently involved in a pilot study investigating the effectiveness of the irradiation with the high LET particles emitted by the neutron capture reactions on 10B and 157Gd used in NCT for damaging and inactivating neurotoxic protein aggregates involved in Alzheimer's Disease. I am collaborating with the University of Birmingham, UK, on the design of the BNCT neutron beam and patient's treatment room to be installed at the Dynamitron proton accelerator of this University where BNCT clinical trials for brain tumour patients are planned to start in the near future.

Teaching

  • none

Education

  • February 2012 Ph.D. in Physics, University of Pavia, Italy. Thesis “The efficacy of Boron Neutron Capture Therapy on small animal models. Preliminary tests in the neutron field of the thermal column of Pavia TRIGA Mark II reactor”, supervisor Prof S.Altieri (University of Pavia), co-supervisor Dr. Eng. D.W.Nigg (INL, Idaho, U.S.A.), referee Prof S.Green (University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK)
  • May 2009 Degree at the University Institute of Superior Studies (IUSS), Pavia, Italy. Thesis “Radiobiological aspects of Boron Neutron Capture Therapy (BNCT) experimental data and Monte Carlo simulations of cell death induced by gamma rays, protons and α-particles” (Italian language), supervisor Prof F.Ballarini (University of Pavia), co-supervisor Prof. G.Bignami (IUSS)
  • October 2008 Master in Physical Sciences (110/110 cum laude), University of Pavia, Italy. Thesis “Study of the neutron field for Boron Neutron Capture Therapy (BNCT) of lung metastases in an animal model ” (Italian language), supervisor Prof S.Altieri, co-supervisors S.Bortolussi PhD
  • October 2006 Bachelor in Physics (110/110), University of Pavia, Italy. Thesis “Techniques for Boron concentration measurement in Boron Neutron capture tehrapy (BNCT)” (Italian language), supervisor Prof S.Altieri
  • July 2007 Secondary School degree (100/100 cum laude), Liceo Scientifico A.Omodeo, Mortara, PV, Italy

Awards, Grants and Honors

  • Italian candidate for the competition L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science International Rising Talents, 2016 Edition
  • L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Prize, 2015 Edition, Italian competition
  • “Francesco Resmini” Award for the best PhD thesis on topics of Accelerator Physics and Applied Physics sponsored by the Italian National Institute of Nuclear Physics INFN
  • Fairchild Award for young researchers, at 14th International Congress of Neutron Capture Therapy (ICNCT), Argentina, 2010
  • Secretary General of Organizing Committee of 8th Young researchers BNCT meeting (8YBNCT), September 2015, Pavia, Italy
  • Member of Scientific Committee of 16th ICNCT, June 2014, Helsinki, Finland
  • Member of Scientific Committee of 7th Young researcher BNCT meeting, September 2013, Granada, Spain

Funded projects

  • Winner of a scholarship for high level education of PhD and Post Doc Fellows awarded by the Swedish Foundation Blanceflor Boncompagni-Ludovisi, née Bildt, academic year 2014-2015, Stockholm, Sweden
  • Winner of a scholarship for high level education of PhD and Post Doc Fellows awarded by the Swedish Foundation Blanceflor Boncompagni-Ludovisi, née Bildt, academic year 2013-2014, Stockholm, Sweden