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Physics in Medicine and Biology 57 (2012) 3371-3405
Prompt gamma imaging with a slit camera for real-time range control in proton therapy
J. Smeets, F. Roellinghoff1, 2, D. Prieels, F. Stichelbaut, A. Benilov, P. Busca, C. Fiorini, R. Peloso, M. Basilavecchia, T. Frizzi, J.C. Dehaes, A. Dubus

Treatments delivered by proton therapy are affected by uncertainties on the range of the beam within the patient, requiring medical physicists to add safety margins on the penetration depth of the beam. To reduce these margins and deliver safer treatments, different projects are currently investigating real-time range control by imaging prompt gammas emitted along the proton tracks in the patient. This study reports on the feasibility, development and test of a new concept of prompt gamma camera using a slit collimator to obtain a one-dimensional projection of the beam path on a scintillation detector. This concept was optimized, using the Monte Carlo code MCNPX version 2.5.0, to select high energy photons correlated with the beam range and detect them with both high statistics and sufficient spatial resolution. To validate the Monte Carlo model, spectrometry measurements of secondary particles emitted by a PMMA target during proton irradiation at 160 MeV were realized. An excellent agreement with the simulations was observed when using subtraction methods to isolate the gammas in direct incidence. A first prototype slit camera using the HiCam gamma detector was consequently prepared and tested successfully at 100 and 160 MeV beam energies. Results confirmed the potential of this concept for real-time range monitoring with millimetre accuracy in pencil beam scanning mode for typical clinical conditions. If we neglect electronic dead times and rejection of detected events, the current solution with its collimator at 15 cm from the beam axis can achieve a 1-2 mm standard deviation on range estimation in a homogeneous PMMA target for numbers of protons that correspond to doses in water at the Bragg peak as low as 15 cGy at 100 MeV and 25 cGy at 160 MeV assuming pencil beams with a Gaussian profile of 5 mm sigma at target entrance.
1 :  IPNL - Institut de Physique Nucléaire de Lyon
2 :  CREATIS - Centre de recherche en applications et traitement de l'image pour la santé
Physique/Physique/Physique Médicale