Exploring the feasibility of a clinical proton beam with an adaptive aperture for pre-clinical research

Isabel P. Almeida, Ana Vaniqui, Lotte Ejr Schyns, Brent van der Heyden, James Cooley, Townsend Zwart, Armin Langenegger, Frank Verhaegen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objective: To investigate whether the Mevion S250i with HYPERSCAN clinical proton system could be used for pre-clinical research with millimetric beams.

Methods: The nozzle of the proton beam line, consisting of an energy modulation system (EMS) and an adaptive aperture (AA), was modelled with the TOPAS Monte Carlo Simulation Toolkit. With the EMS, the 230 MeV beam nominal range can be decreased in multiples of 2.1 mm. Monte Carlo dose calculations were performed in a mouse lung tumour CT image. The AA allows fields as small as 5 x 1 mm(2) to be used for irradiation. The best plans to give 2 Gy to the tumour were derived from a set of discrete energies allowed by the EMS, different field sizes and beam directions. The final proton plans were compared to a precision photon irradiation plan. Treatment times were also assessed.

Results: Seven different proton beam plans were investigated, with a good coverage to the tumour (D95 > 1.95 Gy, D5 <2.3 Gy) and with potentially less damage to the organs at risk than the photon plan. For very small fields and low energies, the number of protons arriving to the target drops to 1-3%, nevertheless the treatment times would be below 5 s.

Conclusion: The proton plans made in this study, collimated by an AA, could be used for animal irradiation.

Advances in knowledge: This is one of the first study to demonstrate the feasibility of pre-clinical research with a clinical proton beam with an adaptive aperture used to create small fields.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20180446
Number of pages9
JournalBritish Journal of Radiology
Issue number1095
Publication statusPublished - 2019




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