First magnet girder for prototype cancer therapy accelerator arrives for testing

First magnet girder for prototype cancer therapy accelerator arrives for testing
This end view of the girder shows the magnet iron in blue, and the multiple copper conductors that carry the electrical current to make the magnetic field. The conductors are contained in a block of epoxy to insulate them from each other. Cooling water flows through the center of the conductors, entering and leaving by the orange feed pipes in the background.

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory have begun testing a magnet assembly for a new kind of particle accelerator for cancer therapy. Designed by Brookhaven scientists in partnership with Best Medical International (Springfield, Virginia), the accelerator—an "ion Rapid Cycling Medical Synchrotron" (iRCMS)—has the potential to deliver precisely controlled particle beams (protons and/or carbon ions) that destroy cancerous tumors while minimizing damage to healthy tissue.

Reports from treatment centers around the world suggest that particle beam therapy results in better outcomes with fewer side effects when compared with conventional x-ray radiation treatment, particularly for tumors in sensitive areas such as in the brain or near the spine. The reason: charged particles such as protons can be precisely aimed, and deposit most of their energy where they stop, instead of producing the kind of pathway of damage that x-rays deliver when they move through tissue.

Early results from carbon treatment facilities in Asia and Europe—there are currently none in North America—suggest that carbon ions, with an even more precise delivery and other biological advantages, may be even more effective than protons. The Brookhaven/Best Medical design would offer the flexibility of treatment using either particle type, along with other improvements including operational simplicity and a scaled-down magnet size compared with other carbon-treatment facilities.

"Testing this first magnet assembly, a curved girder holding three full-length and two half-length magnets, is a first step toward building a prototype of this novel accelerator," said Brookhaven Lab accelerator physicist Stephen Peggs, one of the architects of the design and a principal investigator in a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) between the Lab and Best Medical. The testing will take about six months. If all goes well, the team will order five more magnet assemblies made to the same specifications, and then begin building a prototype accelerator at a Best Medical facility near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

First magnet girder for prototype cancer therapy accelerator arrives for testing
An engineering schematic of the curved magnet girder holding three full-length and two half-length magnets. After successful testing, five more will be built to the same specifications and assembled to form the ends of the prototype accelerator.

"The aim is to deploy the technology to medical treatment facilities to make carbon and other particle beam therapies available for research and for treating patients," said Joseph Lidestri, a consultant for Best Medical.

Manny Subramanian, Director of Research and Development for Best Medical, added, "It is exciting to collaborate with the experts at Brookhaven Lab to develop this unique device that is potentially useful for treating cancer patients throughout the world in an efficient way."

Rapid-fire cancer treatment

The defining characteristic of the iRCMS is its rapid cycling. Fifteen times per second, the power supply increases and decreases the current in a repeating, reproducible way. A bunch of particles receives a synchronized push once per turn —like a child being pushed on a swing—ramping up the energy as the bunch moves around the racetrack shaped accelerator. At the right time—when the bunch has achieved just the right energy—it is extracted and sent down a beam line to the patient.

The cyclical changing of beam energy allows operators to extract beam at any energy—even at a different energy on each successive cycle—just by changing the timing of the extraction. Since beam energy determines how far into a patient the particles will penetrate before depositing their tumor-killing energy, this flexibility to select energies gives doctors exquisite control in delivering radiation doses.

"With the iRCMS, doctors will be able to deliver smaller individual doses very precisely, and very quickly change the depth at which the dose is delivered, to target the entire volume of a tumor," Lidestri said. Peggs likens it to delivering many small shots in rapid-fire fashion, instead of one big cannonball, with the ability to deposit those little "bullets" exactly where you want them.

First magnet girder for prototype cancer therapy accelerator arrives for testing
Six curved magnet girders will be incorporated into a "racetrack" shaped accelerator—three on each end for turning the beam. The straight sections will incorporate additional equipment for injecting, accelerating, and extracting the ion beams.

Rapid cycling also means that fewer particles need to be circulating at any one time. This increases safety and has other advantages, including the ability to build the accelerator using smaller magnets.

Mighty mini magnets

The arc-shaped magnet assembly that just arrived at Brookhaven is just over 17 feet long, with each magnet being about 2 feet wide by 14 inches tall. Designed by Brookhaven physicists Dejan Trbojevic and Wuzheng Meng, and engineers Joseph Tuozzolo and Chris Cullen, these magnets have a combined function—both bending the beam around the curved path at the ends of the accelerator racetrack, and alternatingly focusing and defocusing the beam. This "alternating gradient" design mimics the strong focusing concept first incorporated in Brookhaven's famous Alternating Gradient Synchrotron (AGS), and now used at accelerators around the world.

"Using a string of magnets that alternately focus and defocus the beam in the horizontal and vertical directions keeps the beam size small, so the magnets can have a small aperture and the entire accelerator can be relatively small," Meng said.

That reduction in accelerator size is important for a variety of reasons, including requiring less electrical power to operate, weighing less, and occupying a smaller overall footprint—with the latter two factors reducing the cost of constructing a hospital wing to house such a facility.

But these mini magnets still have to be mighty enough to bend beams of carbon ions. "It's almost three times harder to bend carbon ions than protons," said JK Kandaswamy, a physicist with Best Medical. "This makes it even more important to scale down the size and weight of the magnets."

First magnet girder for prototype cancer therapy accelerator arrives for testing
Once installed in a hospital setting, the accelerator will have beam transfer lines that deliver precision ion beams to patients in individual treatment rooms.

Each magnet is made of many cross-sectional layers of laminated steel, shaped to precision to produce the desired fields for focusing, defocusing, and bending the beams. Each layer must be engineered to the precision standards specified by the Brookhaven team, and assembled with laminate insulation between the layers to break up potentially disruptive eddy currents that develop within the steel itself. Small errors in shape, thickness, and alignment of the layers can cause big changes in the quality of the magnetic field.

"Because of the combined function nature of the magnets, and the rapid change of fields that they will experience as the accelerator cycles, we needed people with world-class competence to test this first assembly," said Lidestri.

Custom testing

The team turned to the world-renowned expertise of Brookhaven's Superconducting Magnet Division. There, physicist Animesh Jain and engineer Piyush Joshi will perform a series of physics and engineering measurements. They're designing a specialized apparatus to measure the magnetic fields—how much magnetic field the magnets produce, with what spatial quality, for a given amount of current.

"The field is not the same as you move across the magnet," Jain said. "Some parts of the iron see higher field, and some see lower field." The smooth change of field is what produces the focusing, but the field quality—the smoothness—should remain constant during the cycling of the magnet.

Testing for all of these effects is complicated by the curved shape of the magnets, and the small size of the aperture through which the beams will travel. In straight magnets, the team would ordinarily insert a cylindrical probe and rotate it to measure changes in the magnets' field strength and quality. For this work, "we had to design a curved probe," said Jain.

Fortunately, the cycling nature of the magnets changes the field, eliminating the need to rotate the custom probe—which would have been impossible. "Still we have to measure the field at several points across the aperture so we know how smoothly the field changes, and how consistent it is," Jain said. "The combination of the bending and focusing functions makes the field depend on where you place the probe, so the instrument has to be aligned with high precision."

For now the team will test each focusing and defocusing magnet on the girder assembly individually. There will also be tests of the state-of-the-art power supply systems and many other magnets in the accelerator.

"Ultimately we need to be sure these components are all operating in sync to get them to operate as an accelerator—the way perfect music is generated by harmonious and synchronized playing of instruments in an orchestra under the centralized, seemingly effortless control of the conductor," Joshi said.

The development of the iRCMS and testing being performed at Brookhaven are funded entirely by Best Medical International. But the technology behind this project is a direct outgrowth of the U.S. Department of Energy's long-term support for basic physics research. Said Peggs, "It is stimulating and rewarding to turn the same techniques and ideas to a different challenge."

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User comments

Mar 02, 2016
Do they work with orgone perhaps? I bet you got them cheap.

There was a guy who claimed he could kill tumors with .22 cal bullets but damage to adjacent tissue proved to be excessive.

Mar 03, 2016
Just actual people who have benefited from using the machines and their documented medical results
of course, there are also people who make the same claims about healing after they licked the wailing wall... so your evidence is nothing more than random unvalidated claims that could very well be the site itself making sh*t up...
now, we know that this is how some sites work (Ask Otto about some recent engineering sites he found!)

so, because you said
No, there is no officially documented testing
then you can't actually prove or validate with any evidence that said devices did anything other than make you fel better about blowing wads of cash

not that there isn't medical benefit in being happy with yourself or something, regardless of how stupid it is...

that is NOT the same thing as being able to prove something any more than owning a wooded lot makes you a Luthier

this is why anecdote isn't acceptable in SCIENCE

Mar 03, 2016
a machine (2 powered by AC, one that is DC rechargeable ) that kill cancer inside the human body. They are based on magnetics, not particles. They also help the body heal cuts faster, bone breaks, pain from inflammation and in one instance helped correct a genetic deformation on a fetus
this really does explain a lot about why you are anti-mainstream science
it is actually called delusion mixed with Conspiracist ideation, just FYI
Once the functional aspects on how the array works have been documented and testing is complete
so... we can look forward to Science Magazine carrying this study then, right?

Mar 03, 2016
My evidence is several living people who wouldn't be without the tech
except you can't actually PROVE that with evidence, you mental midget
I am not here to convince the likes of you
IOW- you are not here to provide empirical evidence to those with the ability to think critically and request evidence that can be validated
I just own the ones I have bought
and that justifies what, exactly?
or is that what you consider evidence?
you don't see the problem with this?

just because YOU got conned doesn't mean it is real... this is like those who practice homeopathy
here is something to remember for REAL life
those who think the plural of anecdote is data may not appreciate why this is not scientific

Mar 03, 2016
I just understand the premise behind how it works
and yet you can't actually provide the scientific support here?
but you say i am the one being retarded?
something you will never have to deal with in any arena....ever
so you claim
or is this the typical evasion tactic of the pseudoscience operator who knows he is full of sh*t and can't actually provide evidence for the claim
as noted above: the plural of anecdote is NOT "data"
ONLY A CON MAN would use this tactic -and that is where fraud comes in
this means, by definition, you are simply perpetuating a fraud: whether it is because you got conned and seek to mitigate the embarrassment or you have a vested financial interest is irrelevant
You are hilarious when you attempt to perform a psyche analysis
and you are a complete idiot for believing anecdote is evidence

cry foul all you want: i aint the one who got suckered by pseudoscience like YOU did

Mar 04, 2016
Folk who are in science and who scream "SCIENCE" do not think LMFAO or LSMFT or whatever are valid arguments. Instead,they are evidence of someone pretending to know what he does not, and has no words to do it.

Mar 04, 2016
When we get folk on the sideline who have done nothing in the field, we wind up with wiki-warriors, folk who think they are immediately smart.


We have a lot of them here playing whatever game their poor character seems to need. I think we can change that.

Mar 04, 2016
I love you for saying the above
sorry. i'm straight. and married
You are a complete idiot if you think I would post what i did if i had not seen it work first hand more than once
and as this is ANECDOTE, this is irrelevant as it is not a non-biased constrained scientific experiment with controls
or didn't you get that?
i've had great experience eating Poison Ivy for minor pain, but does that mean it is scientific? a valid experiment? legitimate proof that the ivy is a pain-killer?
(and that makes you the idiot - claiming your "anecdote" is empirical or some kind of "more valid" evidence than a scientific experiment, BTW)

just because you BELIEVE doesn't mean it is true, real, or in any way proof that can be considered scientific


Mar 04, 2016
@full-of-bs cont'd)
Which brings us to empirical evidence. The only way I could provide that in this arena would be to request that all who have been cured by this tech sign up here and post that they were, provide the name of their physician along with his/her diagnosis
and how, exactly does that take into consideration the Placebo effect? or other factors that may not eb talked about (like diet changes, medications, herbs, small farm animals, religion, the healing power of girl scout vs keebler cookies, etc) ????
logic isn't your strong point, is it?
We all have better things to do than attempt to convince a mental case of the validity of tech he will never own
leave beni-kam and your friends/family out of this
this is between you and i !

now, as convincing as you think it is, your experience may be a fluke .001% reaction
would you claim that a medicine that shows the same .001% effectiveness is a "valid helpful drug"??
not likely...

Mar 04, 2016
What morons like Stumpid don't get is that change for the better means the current way has to go
so you plan on removing SCIENCE and evidence from the equation for the sake of religion?
because that is what you have: a BELIEF in something that can't be validated by evidence - AKA a FAITH
when the true state of where mainstream science is actually at is shown to the world
so it is all a grand conspiracy and overwhelming ineptitude in science, per your claims...

and you want us to take you seriously?
gotcha, you sound just like beni-kam-zeph-obuttheadsocks-cantdrive, et al
believe what they do, citing the words and interpretations of those whom they believe as evidence that what they believe is correct.
you mean like you are doing above... justifying it with personal anecdote?

just like that, eh?

i never said anyone should trust or believe me at all... just the evidence

thanks for demonstrating what trolling pseudoscience looks like!

Mar 04, 2016
Special message for Stumpy!!


Read it now.

Mar 04, 2016
Special message for Stumpy!!

blah blah link blah

Read it now.
Special message for beni-kam!!


Read it now.

Mar 04, 2016
OK moron, tell that to loved ones of the people that are still alive thanks to this tech
i would be glad to!
ASSuming that they're alive due to your "special sauce" is nothing short of religion in action, as noted above
Also, since you took it upon yourself to attempt to apply a percentage to it's effectiveness
so, analogy is not specific application of percentages to the effectiveness of your snake oil?
are you illiterate or just intentionally being stupid? (or both... i can't leave that out)
I will just say that as usual you missed the mark
how can i miss a mark that isn't there? that is like me shooting into the air and you saying i missed! [another analogy, btw]

Mar 04, 2016
here is no placebo effect that can bring someone back from stage 4 cancer you dumb ass
1- you've provided NO evidence that anyone was in stage 4 cancer
2- HIPA would prevent you from validating the claim without permission
3- you CLAIM your super-secret squirrel machine was the reason, but you haven't actually been able to provide ANY evidence supporting this assertion
... because you can't account for anything: other input, micro-biome, medication, stray ThZ, ozone depletion, Arc-angels pa-twanging subject on the head with miracle-gro super-spirit (which is, BTW, exactly equivalent and holds as much evidence as your claim)

but being a pseudoscience idiot sans critical thinking skills, you choose your machine over logic because : someone said so

of course, that is also how people end up buying the Eiffel tower, or Brooklyn Bridge, you know

Mar 04, 2016
one last point
There is no placebo effect that can bring someone back from stage 4 cancer you dumb ass
so... if your machine is so great, why do people who live under high power lines who have cancer die from it?
more to the point: why does anyone get cancer with the proliferation of refrigerator magnets in a typical house?

is this a special magnet?
does it come in a fancy bracelet?
is it endorsed by the FDA or the AMA?
is there any, and i mean ANY studies done on your mega-Gauss super cancer killer that cna support your claims of "stage 4 reversal"????

because i would think that it would be hailed as the find of the century... considering the uber $$ put into cancer research! i mean... f*ck the biology, lets just buy magnets!

or is that where conspiracy comes in?
is it the NSA or big pharma blocking you from being rich?

let us all know man!

(PS - if i use it near a pyramid, can i contact aliens?)

Mar 08, 2016
I hope they can get the carbon accelerator to work.

A group at the company I work at tried that (and they have one working which was handed over to the customer). But the thing is very expensive to run, requires its own building complex and insanely complicated mechanical setups.
The economics of it are just horrendous.

You have to consider that the hospital has to cover the running costs (plus the initial expense for building all this) from the per patient charge you get from the healthcare system. As you can imagine that is a tall order.
With CT and MR machines you already prefer to have them running 24/7 to pay for themselves in an appreciable time...and there we're just talking about a few million. This thing costs an order of magnitude more (at least).

Needless to say the company stopped all R&D on this for lack of profitability and some of the guys from that project have now joined our group.

Mar 08, 2016
"The thing jack offs like you don't get "

Why do we let Stumpy and otto and other bad mouths set the standard of discussion here? What happened to manners? What happened to civility? What happened to character?

Mar 08, 2016
going to die unless he gets his hands on a primercube
1- this is called ANECDOTE, and not science

2- i already told you i was willing to accept your challenge and bet "every cent that i make for research for an entire year" if you could meet the FDA requirements proving your pyramid-magic-mechanized-fridge-magnets machine was a viable cure for cancer

so, are you gonna put your money where your mouth is?

or... in your own words
you [BS] don't want to because you can't afford it I [CAPTAIN] understand, it's what lying little chicken shits [like BS] do when they shoot their mouth off but can't back it up because in reality they are completely wrong
feel free to accept my terms and even my contract stated in the thread!


Why do we let Stumpy and otto
even YOU should be able to read that the above was from bs...not me!

Mar 11, 2016
When we get folk on the sideline who have done nothing in the field, we wind up with wiki-warriors, folk who think they are immediately smart
Well george kamburoff apparently has not done much of anything in any field which is why you don't know what terahertz radiation is, or that airborne manure dust is not called volatile solids, or that the govt stopped using a 100yo exhaust stack emissions opacity table 40 years ago, or that fallout is not only NOT the leading cause of lung cancer, it's not even on the list, etcetcetc.

When you post garbage like this we immediately suspect that george kamburoff is lying about his education and experience.

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