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 in three clinical facilities, CNAO (Italy), HIT (Germany) and MIT (Germany) for quality assurance, dose verification and as a research tool. The models embedded in the code for atomic and nuclear interactions have already demonstrated their accuracy for clinical applications in hadron therapy. This project targeted further improvements in the modelling of the emission of secondary radiation. These improvements will allow better predictions of the primary particle fragmentation and its influence on the delivered dose during radiotherapy treatments. Moreover, the secondary radiation (including prompt gammas, positrons and other charged particles) can be used for in-vivo range verification.

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 and INFN, analysis of the (biological) delivered dose and productions of the secondary radiation has been performed. This research has been applied to realistic treatment scenarios.Finally, different radiobiological models for different regions of interest, e.g. healthy tissue vs tumor tissue, in the voxel description of the patient will be investigated. More efficient radiotherapy treatments and reduced side effects could be achieved.