Technology: „Behind the Scenes“
The proton source of the WPE is a cyclotron from the IBA with a constant energy level of 230 MeV. An energy selection system is turned on to adjust the range of tissue. The beam is guided via a transport system with focusing and deflecting magnets and the associated monitoring system leads to the respective irradiating head. Here, the proton beam is adjusted to the target volume via active or passive beam scattering. Hereby, the beam quality and position are monitored within narrow boundaries.
Techniques of Proton Therapy
A total of four treatment rooms (gantries) with various proton modalities, 3 of which can be rotated by 360 degrees, will be put into operation at the WPE by the end of 2015. In addition, the WPE has the possibility of image guidance using X-ray, CT and MRI. The WPE not only has 2 CT’s, 2 MRI’s, a digital X-ray and a fluoroscopy, but also laser systems, surface recognition systems and respiratory triggering of the treatment beam in all rooms. In the future, the WPE will then be able to treat tumours of moving tissue, for example in breathing lungs. This will be made possible by the active scanning method, comparable to the delicate brushwork of a painter. This ensures the highest accuracy, but also takes a long time to process.
The other method, the more widespread diffusion sheet method, on the other hand, is great for eye tumours. Between two eyelashes, the proton beams are shot directly at the tumour.
The WPE is the only centre in Germany that utilises different proton processes for application, depending on what method is optimal for the respective patient.