SEWICKLEY, PennNOMOS Corporation has been granted an exclusive
license by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to
commercialize its Peregrine technology. Peregrine is a Monte
Carlo-based dose calculation system designed specifically for
radiation therapy planning (see photo).
Current dose calculation methods approximate the radiation dose
distribution in the patient based on dose distributions in water
phantoms. Peregrine determines the dose by simulating the actual
treatment, using CT scans to provide information on the patients
anatomy and disease and a mathematical technique called Monte Carlo
to predict radiation absorption by the tumor and the healthy
The Monte Carlo technique uses radiation transport algorithms
developed originally by scientists working on the Manhattan Project
to design nuclear weapons. These algorithms predict the path and
absorption of radiation particles as they pass through matter.
Scientists at the Livermore Laboratory have adapted these algorithms,
based on the Labs extensive nuclear and atomic databases, for
use in radiation oncology.
Trillions of radiation particles enter the body with radiation
treatment, and each is affected by the tissue, blood, bone, etc, with
which it comes into contact. The Monte Carlo technique tracks up to
100 million representative particles and records the energy deposited
by each as it moves through the body (as represented by the
patients CT scans).
This gives an accurate model of the radiation dose distribution
throughout the treatment volume and allows the physician to
concentrate radiation doses more accurately to tumors, with decreased
doses to healthy tissue.
Peregrine is another example of swords being converted
into plowshares, as Livermores 4 decades of nuclear weapons
research into radiation physics will be used to provide improved
cancer treatments, said US Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson.
The Livermore Laboratory is managed by the University of California
for the Department of Energy.
Only a few years ago, using a super-computer, a Monte Carlo analysis
took 200 hours or more for a single patient. Now, Peregrine system
software can conduct a Monte Carlo analysis on a patient and produce
a 3D dose calculation in about 20 minutes, Ralph Patterson, Peregrine
program manager at Livermore, said in a news release.
NOMOS Corporation plans to incorporate Peregrine into the
companys planning systems such as Peacock, its inverse
treatment planning system for delivering intensity modulated
radiation therapy (IMRT). A stand-alone version will also be
developed to work with other treatment planning systems. The company
is currently preparing a validation and verification package to
submit to the FDA for marketing clearance.
Peregrine represents decades of weapons research that
will now be used to set a gold standard for radiation calculation,
allowing physicians to more accurately pinpoint the target, plan the
dose prescription, and deliver higher doses of radiation, said
Anil K. Rastogi, president and CEO of NOMOS.