A medical physics project to implement a method of image guidance for synchrotron radiotherapy trials on the imaging and medical beamline at The Australian Synchrotron.
Synchrotron microbeam radiation therapy (MRT) is a novel, preclinical RT in which synchrotron-generated X-rays are segmented into a lattice of microbeams, usually 25-50 µm wide. The beams have minimal divergence and are spaced at regular intervals of 200-400 µm. Typical radiation doses are 300-800 Gray (Gy) in the beam (peak dose), and 5-20 Gy in the valley between the beams. In studies published to date, synchrotron MRT has shown equivalent or superior tumour control to conventional RT in different animal models, with the added benefit that there is significantly less damage to normal tissues.
Currently, MRT is only possible at a small number of synchrotron facilities world-wide, including the Australian Synchrotron in Melbourne. The underlying radiobiology of MRT is not well understood with numerous hypotheses proposed to explain the effectiveness of a treatment which exposes the tumour to a very steep gradient of ‘peak’ and ‘valley’ doses of radiation.