Laser-driven particle acceleration for radiobiology and radiotherapy: where we are and where we are going

Laser-driven particle acceleration for radiobiology and radiotherapy: where we are and where we are going
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A. Giulietti

Proc. of SPIE vol. 10239,  Medical Applications of Laser-Generated Beams of Particles IV: Review of Progress and Strategies for the Future, 1023904 (2017)


Radiation therapy of tumors progresses continuously and so do devices, sharing a global market of about $ 4 billions, growing at an annual rate exceeding 5%. Most of the progress involves tumor targeting, multi-beam irradiation, reduction of damage on healthy tissues and critical organs, dose fractioning. This fast-evolving scenario is the moving benchmark for the progress of the laser-based accelerat
ors towards clinical uses. As for electrons, both energy and dose requested by radiotherapy are available with plasma accelerators driven by lasers in the power range of tens of TW but several issues have still to be faced before getting a
prototype device for clinical tests. They include capability of varying electron
energy, stability of the process, reliability for medical users.
On the other side hadron therapy, presently applied to a small fraction of cases but within an exponential growth, is a primary option for the future. With such a strong
motivation, research on laser-based proton/ion acceleration has been supported
in the last decade in order to get performances suitable to clinical standards. None of these performances has been achieved so far with laser techniques.
In the meantime a rich crop of data have been obtained in radiobiological experiments performed with beams of particles produced with laser techniques. It is quite significant however that most of the experiments have been performed moving bio samples to laser labs, rather moving laser equipment to bio labs or clinical contexts. This give us the measure that laser community cannot so far provide practical devices usable by non-laser people.
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