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A PhD student from Tecnun awarded at congress Ikergazte

His thesis work on improving the accuracy of liver cancer treatment is recognised.

FotoIkergazte/UnaiLertxundi, on the left, with the other winners.

16 | 06 | 2021

Unai Lertxundi, PhD student of Tecnun, has been awarded in the congress Ikergazte, organized by UEU to promote mutual knowledge and scientific production in Basque. Unai presented a project related to his thesis and has received a award for the best research in the area of engineering and architecture. It should be noted that more than 200 researchers participated in the congress, of character multidisciplinary.


Unai's presentation consisted of explaining the role that engineers play in the health care area and, specifically, in improving the precision of liver cancer treatment.


"My thesis focuses on a specific treatment for liver cancer called radioembolisation, which consists of introducing radioactive microspheres via a microcatheter placed in the hepatic artery," explains Unai


According to the young engineer, goal , the treatment involves introducing the particles in such a way that they are directed to the liver tumors where they become trapped: "They suffocate the tumor because, by remaining trapped, they block the blood supply and, in addition, they locally emit lethal doses of radiation to the tumor cells". This treatment has one main benefit: it applies radiation only to the liver and avoids attacking the whole body. The aim is to ensure that the particles reach only or largely tumorous areas without damaging healthy liver tissue.


Unai's thesis seeks to analyze through the study of Computational Fluid Dynamics how blood behaves and how radioactive microspheres move in it. The final goal is to create a tool that tells interventional physicians which is the point and which are the optimal injection conditions for the treatment to be as effective as possible. "The tool would analyze different scenarios in a reasonably short time finding the optimal scenario for each patient," he details. As he points out, in order to be useful, the tool has to be fast, and his current work consists of reducing calculation times, which are currently very long.


 "At Ikergazte I presented a comparison between a realistic model and a simplified model when analyzing blood viscosity that made the mathematical model simpler," notes the PhD student. "The main conclusion has been that in the current working range the simplification is perfectly valid. However, as this is a non-specialized congress , multidisciplinary and of an informative nature, both the article The main focus of both the presentation and the presentation was to explain what the treatment consists of and what we engineers contribute to the world of medicine," he confesses.


"The best thing about award is the recognition of the work. It shows me that it is research that not only contributes to me, but that from the outside it is seen as interesting, valued and this, of course, financial aid when it comes to continuing research. Cancer is something that we are all very aware of in society and any step taken to treat it is beneficial," he concludes.

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