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Supercomputing Spot-On Cancer Treatment

Ionization-chamber-modelOver at TACC, Makeda Easter writes that MD Anderson researchers are using TACC’s Lonestar supercomputer to gain insight into new cancer treatment technology.

Radiation therapy is typically administered through a linear accelerator, or linac. A new device under development, called a MRI-linac, will use an integrated CT-scanner to locate the precise position of tumors and deliver localized radiation treatment while minimizing exposure to healthy tissue.

To be effective, linacs use a type of radiation detector called an ionization chamber to ensure that the radiation dose delivered is accurate. In order to adjust for the presence of a magnetic field, a team at the MD Anderson Cancer Center is developing correction factors so that ionization chambers can be used to calibrate the amount of radiation delivered by the new MRI-linac system.

By running the supercomputer simulations, our goal is to understand how to properly use ionization chambers in the presence of a magnetic field,” said Michelle Mathis from the MD Anderson Cancer Center. “The results of our research will facilitate safe use of the MRI-linac systems, which in turn will be used to treat cancer patients more effectively.”

The MD Anderson dosimetry team is using a total of 250,000 hours on Lonestar and will continue to run simulations until they can develop correction factors for 16 different ionization chambers.

Source: Texas Advanced Computing Center.

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