The TPS project is one of INFN's special projects. Its aim is to implement a Treatment Planning System for hadrontherapy.
The TPS is a complex computer system that helps both to design radiation treatments and to compute the dose delivered to the patient. One of the main objectives in radiotherapy is the conformal delivery of the prescribed dose to the target volume, while sparing as much as possible the surrounding healthy tissue and critical structures.
In intensity modulated particle therapy (IMPT) irradiation technique, many thousands, individually weighted, narrow beams are delivered to the patient using several fields (beam directions) in order to deliver a uniform dose to an arbitrary shaped planning target volume (PTV). Due to the very large number of degrees of freedom, computer aided 'inverse planning' techniques are mandatory to create reliable IMPT treatment plans. Within these techniques, beam spot positions, energies and particle fluences are determined from the prescribed dose distribution by means of an optimization procedure over an appropriate objective function.
In general, the optimization is performed such that the probability to eradicate all clonogenic tumor cells without severely damaging healthy normal tissues is as high as possible. The optimal treatment plan should be also evaluated in real time and the TPS should be highly interactive, so that the user can almost instantly modify, calculate, and examine various plan outcomes.