View Full Version : Cool field trip

06-17-2009, 11:28 AM
Just thought I'd share this because its 1) very cool and 2) very relevant for our future. One or more of us will need some sort of cancer treatment later in our lives, and well thats the field I work in so. Enjoy the behind the scenes look at some of this, most people never get to see this stuff =)

So this company IBA specializes in building and managing proton therapy centers throughout the world. Proton therapy is useful for treating some inoperable and difficult operation cancers, and typically has less collateral radiation damage to organs than other traditional irradiation methods. Hampton University in Virginia has a contract with IBA to build the (currently) worlds largest proton therapy center. I work at Jefferson National Lab and my group has a contract with Hampton to build a set of detectors to assist with the positioning and tracking of a proton beam on the treatment rooms of this facility. So we got a special tour this week.

You can see in this link http://www.iba-worldwide.com/healthcare/radiotherapy/particle-therapy/facility-design.php the basic layout of the building, there is an accelerator which runs along the back wall and provides beam to treatment rooms. Each treatment room is 3 stories tall and consists of a 90 ton gantry which can spin around in 360 degrees to point the beam nozzle in any direction. If you're ever a patient in one of these rooms you would never see the majority of this machine that you're in the middle of, and I can imagine people may feel uncomfortable to be on a bed in the middle of such a massive moving structure. Our facility isn't the same as the one in the animation but the concept is similar enough

So heres some pictures:
These show the treatment rooms with the 3 story tall rotating gantry. The pictures don't do it justice... this thing is HUGE.

06-17-2009, 11:28 AM
This is their form of radiation safety while construction is still in progress... 500mR/hr next to thh degrader! (Don't stand near that)

This is the accelerator, there is a source that I don't have a picture of that injects electrons upwards and some nuclear physics stuff happens and out comes a proton beam! (I'm not a nuclear physicist)

Heres the initial beam line, you can see the degrader there labaled with a high radiation sign, following pictures are of the beam line:

06-17-2009, 11:29 AM

Sorry for the bad picture quality, I'm not too proficient at cameras... as you can see from this picture:

So yea, just thought I'd share some cool science stuff that has applications in the health industry for diagnostics and treatment! Enjoy =)

06-17-2009, 11:40 AM
Badass... how much does all that stuff cost?

06-17-2009, 12:05 PM
Thats nuts dude, thanks for the pics. PS can I borrow that guys shirt ? We know which one I'm talking about.

06-17-2009, 01:45 PM
$225 million. Heres the website for that center. http://www.hamptonproton.org/

Edit: Good picture of one of the finished treatment rooms... Very, very different looking :P http://www.hamptonproton.org/therapy/didyouknow.asp

06-17-2009, 04:58 PM
Almost looks like a Spa...

06-18-2009, 06:14 AM
Wow that looks pretty cool. Did some reading on proton cancer treatment and it's pretty awesome the way that the process uses ionization and the weak regenerative ability of cancerous cells to selectively eliminate the cancer with minimal damage to normal cells.

07-12-2009, 11:13 PM
im sure there is a side effect.....


07-13-2009, 10:09 AM
Sure but because a proton beam has such a narrow Bragg peak, tissue before the peak receives a lower dose and tissue after receives barely any. This is much more ideal than any other irradiation technique (except for maybe a carbon beam). Besides, if you're worried about getting cancer from your treatment beam (that's treating your cancer) then you might want to find another perspective on life.

Also if you're worried about radiation in general, you might want to avoid the sun, standing next to concrete walls, flying on planes, getting Xrays, false teeth, smoking... etcec

07-13-2009, 05:39 PM
I can tell your into this pretty hardcore Humera and if this is what you go to school for im glad, looks like it intrest you and thats what makes people good at what they do.

The whole side effect thing is what I meant, everything causes cancer it seems :)