About the RTGrid Project

The RTGrid project is a multi-disciplinary research collaboration between the School of Computer Science, Cardiff University and the Department of Medical Physics, Velindre Cancer Centre, Wales. It is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) under grant number EP/C538641/1 until January 2009, and is currently supported by OMII-UK as an Engage (Engaging research with e-Infrastructure) project. The RTGrid project investigates the use of distributed computing resources, such as clusters and the Grid, to reduce computation-time of Monte Carlo simulations when used for radiotherapy dose calculations.

Sample screenshot.

Velindre Hospital in Cardiff is the main centre for cancer treatment in Wales. Routine clinical services at Velindre Hospital provide radiotherapy plans for 1400 patients per year, based on commercial and in-house treatment planning software packages. The planning software strikes a balance between execution time and the accuracy of dose calculation in the radiotherapy treatment plans derived from it. It would be preferable to use Monte Carlo techniques to plan radiotherapy treatments in order to determine more accurately the dose to the tumour and neighbouring healthy tissue and organs. However, the Monte Carlo approach is computationally intensive and typically it takes days to run a simulation for one patient. The research proposed here will investigate the use of Grid computing resources to reduce the runtime of the Monte Carlo simulations, with the aim of making this approach clinically deployable. Of particular interest is the radiotherapy treatment of anatomically inhomogeneous areas of the body such as the lungs and head and neck where the current planning systems are not sufficiently accurate, and where the use of Monte Carlo techniques is likely to have a significant impact on more accurate dose determination and therefore understanding of dose-response relationships.

The RTGrid project provides the following:

  • Web-based portal for Radiotherapy simulation.
    View and control simulations over the internet.

  • Interface for creating extensible and reusable simulation profiles.
    Create generic simulation templates that can be reused.
    Run simulations by specialising simulation templates with parameters.

  • Access distributed computational resources.
    The National Grid Service or remote Condor Pool.

  • Customisable display and user interfaces.