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Precise image-guided irradiation of small animals: a flexible non-profit platform

Tillner, F.; Thute, P.; Löck, S.; Dietrich, A.; Fursov, A.; Haase, R.; Lukas, M.; Rimarzig, B.; Sobiella, M.; Krause, M.; Baumann, M.; Bütof, R.; Enghardt, W.

Abstract

Preclinical in-vivo studies using small animals are essential to develop new therapeutic options in radiation oncology. Of particular interest are orthotopic tumour models, which better reflect the clinical situation in terms of growth patterns and microenvironmental parameters of the tumour as well as the interplay of tumours with the surrounding normal tissues. Such orthotopic models increase the technical demands and the complexity of preclinical studies as local irradiation with therapeutically relevant doses requires image-guided target localisation and accurate beam application. Moreover, advanced imaging techniques are needed for monitoring treatment outcome. We present a novel Small Animal Image-Guided Radiation Therapy (SAIGRT) system, which allows for precise and accurate, conformal irradiation and X-ray imaging of small animals. High accuracy is achieved by its robust construction, the precise movement of its components and a fast high-resolution flat-panel detector. Field forming and X-ray imaging is accomplished close to the animal resulting in a small penumbra and a high image quality. Feasibility for irradiating orthotopic models has been proven using lung tumour and glioblastoma models in mice. The SAIGRT system provides a flexible, non-profit academic research platform which can be adapted to specific experimental needs and therefore enables systematic preclinical trials in multicentre research networks.

Keywords: translational cancer research; small animal research platform; image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT); cone beam computed tomography (CBCT); orthotopic tumour models; precision irradiation; X-ray dosimetry

Permalink: https://www.hzdr.de/publications/Publ-23770