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J Biomed Opt. 2013 Nov;18(11):110504. doi: 10.1117/1.JBO.18.11.110504.

Real-time in vivo Cherenkoscopy imaging during external beam radiation therapy.

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Dartmouth College, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Hanover, New Hampshire 03755dDartmouth College, Thayer School of Engineering, Hanover, New Hampshire 03755.


Cherenkov radiation is induced when charged particles travel through dielectric media (such as biological tissue) faster than the speed of light through that medium. Detection of this radiation or excited luminescence during megavoltage external beam radiotherapy (EBRT) can allow emergence of a new approach to superficial dose estimation, functional imaging, and quality assurance for radiation therapy dosimetry. In this letter, the first in vivo Cherenkov images of a real-time Cherenkoscopy during EBRT are presented. The imaging system consisted of a time-gated intensified charge coupled device (ICCD) coupled with a commercial lens. The ICCD was synchronized to the linear accelerator to detect Cherenkov photons only during the 3.25-μs radiation bursts. Images of a tissue phantom under irradiation show that the intensity of Cherenkov emission is directly proportional to radiation dose, and images can be acquired at 4.7 frames/s with SNR>30. Cherenkoscopy was obtained from the superficial regions of a canine oral tumor during planned, Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee approved, conventional (therapeutically appropriate) EBRT irradiation. Coregistration between photography and Cherenkoscopy validated that Cherenkov photons were detected from the planned treatment region. Real-time images correctly monitored the beam field changes corresponding to the planned dynamic wedge movement, with accurate extent of overall beam field, and expected cold and hot regions.

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