Eric Ford, Ph.D., associate professor and researcher, oversees the Precision Proton Radiotherapy Platform at the UW Department of Radiation Oncology, an image-guided laboratory irradiator used to test the effects of radiation
Areas of Research
Precision Proton Radiotherapy Platform
The Precision Proton Radiotherapy Platform is a novel first-of-its-kind image-guided irradiator that is used in a laboratory setting to better understand the biological effects of different radiotherapies at a cellular and tissue level. Working in partnership with the UW Medical Cyclotron Facility and its available proton beam line, the PPRP has been designed to integrate a proton beam with an X-ray treatment and imaging device. As the number of clinical proton radiotherapy facilities steadily increases nationwide, it is crucially important to understand the basic radiation biology of proton beams and their interaction with tissues and tumors.
With other laboratory irradiator systems available today, it is not possible to precisely control the energy or shape of beams, and it is not possible to use image-guidance. The PPRP was designed to address this unmet need for a precision laboratory system. It provides a 50-MeV experimental proton beam that can be narrowed down to a size as small as 2 mm wide. Coupled with a CT image-guidance system, this platform is ideally suited to precision laboratory experiments.
The PPRP can target tissues with sub-millimeter precision, giving researchers the potential to greatly improve their understanding of how particle beams interact with a tumor or with normal tissues.