Initial experience with an electron FLASH research extension (FLEX) for the Clinac system

Kyuhak Oh, Kyle J. Gallagher, Megan Hyun, Diane Schott, Sarah Wisnoskie, Yu Lei, Samuel Hendley, Jeffrey Wong, Shuo Wang, Brendan Graff, Christopher Jenkins, Frank Rutar, Md Ahmed, Joshua McNeur, Jeffrey Taylor, Marty Schmidt, Lasitha Senadheera, Wendy Smith, Donald Umstadter, Subodh M. LeleRan Dai, Dong Jianghu, Ying Yan, Zhou Su-min

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: Radiotherapy delivered at ultra-high-dose-rates (≥40 Gy/s), that is, FLASH, has the potential to effectively widen the therapeutic window and considerably improve the care of cancer patients. The underlying mechanism of the FLASH effect is not well understood, and commercial systems capable of delivering such dose rates are scarce. The purpose of this study was to perform the initial acceptance and commissioning tests of an electron FLASH research product for preclinical studies. Methods: A linear accelerator (Clinac 23EX) was modified to include a non-clinical FLASH research extension (the Clinac-FLEX system) by Varian, a Siemens Healthineers company (Palo Alto, CA) capable of delivering a 16 MeV electron beam with FLASH and conventional dose rates. The acceptance, commissioning, and dosimetric characterization of the FLEX system was performed using radiochromic film, optically stimulated luminescent dosimeters, and a plane-parallel ionization chamber. A radiation survey was conducted for which the shielding of the pre-existing vault was deemed sufficient. Results: The Clinac-FLEX system is capable of delivering a 16 MeV electron FLASH beam of approximately 1 Gy/pulse at isocenter and reached a maximum dose rate >3.8 Gy/pulse near the upper accessory mount on the linac gantry. The percent depth dose curves of the 16 MeV FLASH and conventional modes for the 10 × 10 cm2 applicator agreed within 0.5 mm at a range of 50% of the maximum dose. Their respective profiles agreed well in terms of flatness but deviated for field sizes >10 × 10 cm2. The output stability of the FLASH system exhibited a dose deviation of <1%. Preliminary cell studies showed that the FLASH dose rate (180 Gy/s) had much less impact on the cell morphology of 76N breast normal cells compared to the non-FLASH dose rate (18 Gy/s), which induced large-size cells. Conclusion: Our studies characterized the non-clinical Clinac-FLEX system as a viable solution to conduct FLASH research that could substantially increase access to ultra-high-dose-rate capabilities for scientists.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere14159
JournalJournal of applied clinical medical physics
Volume25
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2024

Keywords

  • FLASH Research Extension (FLEX)
  • cell viability
  • conventional dose rate (CONV)
  • dosimetry
  • electron Ultra-high dose rate (eFLASH)
  • linear accelerator
  • stress-activated senescence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Instrumentation
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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