Med Phys 2007 Dec;34(12):4706-16
Washington University School of Medicine, Saint Louis, Missouri 63110, USA.
A novel small animal conformal radiation therapy system has been designed and prototyped: MicroRT. The microRT system integrates multimodality imaging, radiation treatment planning, and conformal radiation therapy that utilizes a clinical 192Ir isotope high dose rate source as the radiation source (teletherapy). A multiparameter dose calculation algorithm based on Monte Carlo dose distribution simulations is used to efficiently and accurately calculate doses for treatment planning purposes. A series of precisely machined tungsten collimators mounted onto a cylindrical collimator assembly is used to provide the radiation beam portals. The current design allows a source-to-target distance range of 1-8 cm at four beam angles: 0 degrees (beam oriented down), 90 degrees, 180 degrees, and 270 degrees. The animal is anesthetized and placed in an immobilization device with built-in fiducial markers and scanned using a computed tomography, magnetic resonance, or positron emission tomography scanner prior to irradiation. Treatment plans using up to four beam orientations are created utilizing a custom treatment planning system-microRTP. A three-axis computer-controlled stage that supports and accurately positions the animals is programmed to place the animal relative to the radiation beams according to the microRTP plan. The microRT system positioning accuracy was found to be submillimeter. The radiation source is guided through one of four catheter channels and placed in line with the tungsten collimators to deliver the conformal radiation treatment. The microRT hardware specifications, the accuracy of the treatment planning and positioning systems, and some typical procedures for radiobiological experiments that can be performed with the microRT device are presented.