CERN - European Organization for Nuclear Research

Improvements on FLUKA for medical applications

Trainee: Giulia Aricò
Supervisor: Alfredo Ferrari

For efficient treatment planning and decision for optimum dose delivery schemes, Monte Carlo simulations are a key tool. The FLUKA code is de-facto standard in Europe for generation of physical input for carbon ion treatment planning systems, being used for this purpose by Siemens and RaySearch. The code is also used at two clinical facilities, CNAO and HIT, as a quality assurance, verification and research tool. The models embedded in the code for atomic and nuclear interactions have already demonstrated their accuracy for clinical applications. This project targets further improvements in the modeling of the emission of secondary radiation. These improvements will allow to predict the influence of the primary particle fragmentation on the dose delivered in radiotherapy treatments with higher precision. Moreover, the secondary radiation (including prompt gammas, positrons and other charged particles) can be used for therapy monitoring. Fragmentation of helium, lithium and carbon ion beams are analysed in different materials, and the results from the FLUKA simulations are validated against experimental data. In collaboration with CNAO, STFC and PSI, a framework for the combined computation and visualization of (biological) dose and secondary radiation emission will be developed. This shall then be applied for the verification of dose distributions and associated imaging with LMU and INFN. Comparison of expected prompt photons and PET signals between very light ions and 12C will be performed in realistic treatment scenarios.
Finally, the developed framework could allow to implement different radiobiological models for different regions of interest, e.g. healthy tissue vs tumor tissue, in the voxel description of the patient. More efficient radiotherapy treatments and reduced side effects could be achieved.