SU-C-213-07: Fabrication and Testing of a 3D-Printed Small Animal Rectal Cooling Device to Evaluate Local Hypothermia as a Radioprotector During Prostate SBRT




The protective effects of induced or even accidental hypothermia on the human body are widespread with several medical uses currently under active research. In vitro experiments using human cell lines have shown hypothermia provides a radioprotective effect that becomes more pronounced at large, single-fraction doses common to SBRT treatments. Relevant to prostate SBRT, this work details the fabrication and testing of a 3D-printed cooling device to facilitate the investigation of the radioprotective effect of local hypothermia on the rat rectum.


A 3cm long, two-channel rectal cooling device was designed in SOLIDWORKS CAD for 3D printing. The water intake nozzle is connected to a 1mm diameter brass pipe from which water flows and circulates back around to the exit nozzle. Both nozzles are connected by plastic tubing to a water chiller pump. Following leak-proof testing, fiber optic temperature probes were used to evaluate the temperature over time when placed adjacent to the cooling device within a rat rectum. MRI thermometry characterized the relative temperature distribution in concentric ROIs surrounding the probe. CBCT images from a small-animal irradiator were evaluated for imaging artifacts which could affect Monte Carlo dose calculations during treatment planning.


The rectal temperature adjacent to the cooling device decreased from body temperature (37°C) to 15°C in 10–20 minutes from device insertion. Rectal temperature was maintained at 15±3°C during active cooling. MRI thermometry tests revealed a steep temperature gradient with increasing distance from the cooling device, with the desired temperature range maintained within the surrounding few millimeters.


A 3D printed rectal cooling device was fabricated for the purpose of inducing local hypothermia in rat rectums. Rectal cooling capabilities were characterized in-vivo to facilitate an investigation of the radioprotective effect of hypothermia for late rectal toxicity following a single large dose of radiation.

Funding support provided by RSNA research seed grant