Stony Brook researcher Erik Muller Receives DOE grant to develop a technology for the next generation of radiation treatment for cancer
July 5, 2016 – A national team of researchers led by Erik Muller, PhD, Senior Research Scientist and Adjunct Professor, Department of Materials Science and Chemical Engineering in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Stony Brook University, is developing high-speed synthetic diamond beam monitors that detect proton and carbon ion beams used for cancer radiation therapy. The technology, supported by a two-year $500,000 grant from the High Energy Physics Section of the Department of Energy, is designed to provide much higher precision of radiation therapy and could form the basis for the next generation of radiation beam therapy for cancer.
Proton/ion beam therapy remains an emerging area of cancer treatment, with the growing potential for specific targeting of tumors without significant damage to surrounding tissue. One of the most challenging areas for the development of this technology is with the beam delivery system, which ensures that the patient receives the required dose while minimizing the risk of exposure to healthy tissue.
“We believe that diamond is a remarkable material for the beam delivery system because it is radiation hard, tissue equivalent, and has a huge linear dynamic range for delivery,” said Dr. Muller. “By using this technology, our team is developing new beam monitors that will provide three orders of magnitude improvement in speed and precision, and has more durability over current technology.”
The team is focusing its research on the diamond beam detector technology in relation to the dose, timing and shape of the beams.
Dr. Muller is also working with Samuel Ryu, MD, Chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology and Deputy Director for Clinical Affairs at Stony Brook University Cancer Center, to adapt the diamond detectors for use in radiation monitoring for cancer therapy. Dr. Ryu is incorporating the latest high-energy photon radiation systems into the Department, and the diamond detectors could potentially be used to enhance these systems even more once commercialized.
The research team includes scientists from Stony Brook University, Brookhaven National Laboratory, the NASA Space Radiation Laboratory, Case Western Reserve University and Best Medical International.