SU-F-T-670: From the OR to the Radiobiology Lab: The Journey of a Small X-Ray Source




Irradiation of small animal tumor models within laboratories is vital to radiobiological experiments. Often the animals are not able to be brought back into the lab after being taken out for irradiation. Cell biology laboratories benefit from irradiation capability available around the clock without regard to patient load in an associated radiotherapy clinic. Commercial systems are available, but bulky and expensive.


An intraoperative kV irradiation system (IntraBeam™) designed to deliver spherical dose distributions to surgical cavities has been repurposed for the irradiation of cell plates and small laboratory animals. An applicator has been altered to allow for simple, open fields. Special collimators are being developed. BEAMnrc Monte Carlo simulations with the “NRC swept BEAM” source model have been performed to characterize the dose distributions, to develop optimal collimators and as basis for dose prescription. Measurements with radiochromic film and with an ionization chamber were performed to characterize the beam and to validate the simulations.


Using its highest setting (50 kV and 40 µA) the x-ray unit is capable of delivering dose rates over 1 Gy/min homogeneously to standard cell plates even without an optimized collimator. Smaller areas (tumors in animals) can be irradiated with significantly higher dose rates (> 20 Gy/min) depending on distance of the source to the tumor. The HVL was found to be 0.21 mm Al which means the shielding requirements for the device are easily achievable in the lab.


A mobile irradiation facility is feasible. It will allow easier access to radiation for radiobiology experiments. The modified system is versatile in that for cell plates homogenous irradiations can be achieved through distance from the source, while for high dose rate small field irradiations the source can be brought in close proximity to the target.