FLASH Radiotherapy Beam Created on Clinical Linac at Dartmouth-Hitchcock

A ‘FLASH’ ultra-high dose rate radiation therapy beam was initiated in New England for the first time, demonstrating that it can be achieved reversibly on a clinical linear accelerator, and deliver the beam in a standard patient geometry. The work was done at the Norris Cotton Cancer Center (NCCC) by a joint team of researchers led by Professors David Gladstone, Rongxiao Zhang and Benjamin Williams from the Division of Radiation Oncology within the Department of Medicine, PhD students Ronny Rahman and Ramish Ashraf at the Thayer School of Engineering as well as Professors Petr Bruza and Brian Pogue, and Professor Jack Hoopes in the Department of Surgery, at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon NH. Pilot funding from the NCCC and Thayer provided the team with the capability to prototype how to convert linac to this exceptionally high dose rate of 300 Gray per second, whereas normal therapy treatment is done at 0.1 Gray per second. Instead of treatment over 20 seconds, an entire treatment is completed in 6 milliseconds. These high dose rates have been shown to protect normal tissues from excess damage while still having the same treatment effect on tumor tissues, and so may be critically important for limiting radiation damage in patients receiving radiation therapy. The work was reported Aug 16 2020 in the online arXiv publication arXiv:2008.06980 [physics.med-ph]. The team is developing this beam for pre-clinical testing at this point and will study its potential for different tumor plans.

Beam profile image from the 2cm diameter FLASH beam.

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