Converging Proton Minibeams with Magnetic Fields for Optimized Radiation Therapy: A Proof of Concept
Proton MiniBeam Radiation Therapy (pMBRT) is a novel strategy that combines the benefits of minibeam radiation therapy with the more precise ballistics of protons to further optimize the dose distribution and reduce radiation side effects. The aim of this study is to investigate possible strategies to couple pMBRT with dipole magnetic fields to generate a converging minibeam pattern and increase the center-to-center distance between minibeams. Magnetic field optimization was performed so as to obtain the same transverse dose profile at the Bragg peak position as in a reference configuration with no magnetic field. Monte Carlo simulations reproducing realistic pencil beam scanning settings were used to compute the dose in a water phantom. We analyzed different minibeam generation techniques, such as the use of a static multislit collimator or a dynamic aperture, and different magnetic field positions, i.e., before or within the water phantom. The best results were obtained using a dynamic aperture coupled with a magnetic field within the water phantom. For a center-to-center distance increase from 4 mm to 6 mm, we obtained an increase of peak-to-valley dose ratio and decrease of valley dose above 50%. The results indicate that magnetic fields can be effectively used to improve the spatial modulation at shallow depth for enhanced healthy tissue sparing.