Proton Therapy

Research Focus Areas: 5

Ph.D. Students: M.A. Norsworthy (Graduated) & C. Green (Graduated)


Proton therapy is becoming widely popular in the treatment of cancer due to its depth dose characteristics and having a radiological biological effectiveness about 10-15% superior to photons. Protons are accelerated to high energies(70-230 MeV) and therefore create secondary neutrons during these treatments. The secondary neutron dose deposited is not well characterized during these treatments and lead to neutron dose to normal/healthy tissue.

We aim to better quantify the secondary neutron dose given during proton therapy treatments using monte-carlo methods with absolute validation using organic scintillators pulse height spectrums. Measurements have been taken at the Loma Linda University Medical Center, Northwestern Medicine Chicago Proton Center, and Paul Scherer Institute. Future measurement plans are to be done at the (National Centre of Oncological Hadrontherapy) for quantifying neutron production in both proton and carbon ion therapy.

Related Journal Articles:

  1. S.D. Clarke, E. Pryser, B. M. Wieger, R. Arghal, S. A. Pozzi, R. A. Hälg, V. A. Bashkirov, R. W. Schulte, “A Scintillator-based Approach to Monitor Neutron Production During Proton Therapy,” Med. Phys. 43(11), 5915 – 5924, 2016.