Power Source Development for Compact Proton Accelerators
Department of Health and Human Services
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Small Business Information
3921 ACADEMY PARKWAY N., NE, ALBUQUERQUE, NM, 87109
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
AbstractDESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Radiation therapy is one of the primary weapons in the battle against cancer, but even with the advances we have made, there remains significant room for improvement in radiation-based treatment technologies. Proton the rapy is now considered the most advanced form of radiation therapy available for cancer treatment, but the size and cost of currently available proton-therapy devices have severely limited the technology's use and availability. The high-voltage machines re quired to generate proton beams are massive-weighing several hundred tons and requiring 90,000 square feet to house. They also cost 100M or more to build. A substantial reduction in the size and cost is required for proton therapy machines to be rendered practical for use in typical cancer-treatment centers. Ideally, a proton-therapy machine would be miniaturized to the point that it would fit into a standard linac radiation vault and could replace existing X-ray machines. TPL Inc., in collaboration with L awrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and UC Davis Cancer Center, has defined a technical approach that we believe will allow development of the first low- cost, compact proton-therapy machine. As envisioned, the new device will be an order of magni tude smaller and one-fifth the cost of the machines being used today. The key to developing this next- generation proton-therapy device is an extremely compact accelerator design based on a novel, high- voltage insulating material (dielectric) developed by TPL. This enabling material, developed initially for defense-related pulse-power applications, is a composite structure comprised of a formulated polymer resin and nano-size ceramic particles. For Phase I of this multi-phase SBIR project, an engineering f easibility effort is proposed based on the use of TPL's established composite dielectric technology. The project will focus on demonstrating the feasibility of developing the components that will serve as the building blocks for the new, miniaturized syste m and on demonstrating target performance capabilities from those components. LLNL will provide the technical advisory support and component performance evaluations while UC Davis cancer center will provide the technical advisory support for the system lev el design and operational requirements. Proof of feasibility in Phase I will set the stage for prototype development and demonstration/validation by TPL and its collaborators in a Phase II SBIR project. The validation work supported by Phase II will allow us to prove the value of TPL's proprietary enabling component for this technology and will position TPL and LLNL to partner with an industry leader such as TomoTherapy to complete the development, approval, and manufacturing tasks required for Phase III commercialization of this exciting new technology. We anticipate that success in attaining our goals of substantially reducing cost and size of proton-therapy units will open up a very significant new marketplace in the U.S. and abroad for this type of can cer-treatment device. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: Millions of Americans are lost every year to cancer, and although radiation therapy is one of our primary treatment tools for cancer, there remains significant room for improvement with even our best radiation -based treatments. Proton therapy is considered the most advanced form of radiation therapy available for cancer treatment7, but the size (hundreds of tons with a 90,000-square-foot footprint) and cost (more than 100 million to build) of currently availab le proton-therapy devices have severely limited the technology's use. For this project, TPL is teaming with Lawrence Livermore and US Davis Cancer Center to demonstrate the potential for using TPL's enabling technology to achieve an order-of-magnitude size reduction and an 80% cost reduction- with the entire effort focused on making next-generation proton therapy practical for widespread use throughout the U.
* information listed above is at the time of submission.