Source localisation and dose verification for a novel brachytherapy unit
A recent development in the field of radiotherapy has been the introduction of the PRS Intrabeam system (Carl Zeiss Surgical GmbH, Oberkochen, Germany). This is essentially a portable, miniaturised, electron-driven photon generator that allows high intensity, soft-energy x-rays (50 kVp) to be delivered directly to the tumour site in a single fraction. The system has been used for the interstitial radiation treatment of both brain and breast tumours. At present, a standardised in-vivo dose verification technique is not available for the PRS treatments. The isotropical distribution of photons about the tip of the PRS probe inserted in the tissue can effectively be viewed as a point source of radiation buried in the body. This work has looked into ways of localising the PRS source utilising its own radiation field. Moreover, the response of monoenergetic sources, mimicking realistic brachytherapy sources, has also been investigated. The purpose of this project was to attempt to localise the source as well as derive important dosimetric information from the resulting image. A detection system comprised of a well-collimated Germanium detector (HPGe) has been devised in a rotate-translate Emission Computed Tomography (ECT) modality. The superior energy resolving ability of the detection system allowed for energy selective reconstruction to be carried out in the case of the monoenergetic source (241Am). Results showed that the monoenergetic source can be localised to within 1 mm and the continuous PRS x-ray source to within 3mm. For the PRS dose map derivation, Monte Carlo studies have been employed in order to extract information on the dosimetric aspect of the resulting image. The final goal of this work was therefore to formulate a direct mathematical relation (Transform Map) between the image created by the escaping photons and the dose map as predicted by the theoretical model. The formation therefore of the in-vivo PRS image could allow for a real-time monitoring system of the radiation delivery during the treatment whilst providing dose verification maps for patient records.