Sci—Fri PM: Topics — 05: Experience with linac simulation software in a teaching environment

Authors

  • Carlone Marco,

    1. Radiation Medicine Program, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto, ON
    2. Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON
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  • Norrlinger Bern,

    1. Radiation Medicine Program, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto, ON
    2. Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON
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  • van Prooijen Monique,

    1. Radiation Medicine Program, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto, ON
    2. Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON
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  • Milne Emily,

    1. Radiation Medicine Program, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto, ON
    2. Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON
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  • Harnett Nicole,

    1. Radiation Medicine Program, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto, ON
    2. Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON
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  • Jaffray David

    1. Radiation Medicine Program, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto, ON
    2. Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON
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Abstract

Medical linear accelerator education is usually restricted to use of academic textbooks and supervised access to accelerators. To facilitate the learning process, simulation software was developed to reproduce the effect of medical linear accelerator beam adjustments on resulting clinical photon beams. The purpose of this report is to briefly describe the method of operation of the software as well as the initial experience with it in a teaching environment. To first and higher orders, all components of medical linear accelerators can be described by analytical solutions. When appropriate calibrations are applied, these analytical solutions can accurately simulate the performance of all linear accelerator sub-components. Grouped together, an overall medical linear accelerator model can be constructed. Fifteen expressions in total were coded using MATLAB v 7.14. The program was called SIMAC. The SIMAC program was used in an accelerator technology course offered at our institution; 14 delegates attended the course. The professional breakdown of the participants was: 5 physics residents, 3 accelerator technologists, 4 regulators and 1 physics associate. The course consisted of didactic lectures supported by labs using SIMAC. At the conclusion of the course, eight of thirteen delegates were able to successfully perform advanced beam adjustments after two days of theory and use of the linac simulator program. We suggest that this demonstrates good proficiency in understanding of the accelerator physics, which we hope will translate to a better ability to understand real world beam adjustments on a functioning medical linear accelerator.

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