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Research Highlight

Monte Carlo Methods in Predicting Cell Survival in Digital Twin Radiotherapy Simulations

Achievement:  A group of ORNL researchers and collaborators have been working to develop a pipeline that simulates radiotherapy across different scales, e.g., the individual cellular scale, multicellular/tissue scale, organ scale, and whole-body scale. From October 2022 through December 2022 we performed a comparative study of cell survival probabilities following simulated irradiation by means of simulated individual cell irradiation versus using available population level cell survival data. It was found that the mean survival probability of the population level cell survival data can be reproduced using the individual cell irradiation method. This work was taken to the 2022 Radiation Research Society Conference in October. Additional work was conducted on 3D tumor growth models and the simulated radiotherapy of these tumors within our pipeline. 

Significance and Impact: The individual cell irradiation method opens the possibility of making models for individual cells, which means being able to allow for differences in cellular geometry, composition, placement of individual cellular substructures, etc. These differences while seemingly minute can result in significant difference in cell radiosensitivity. Additionally, experimental data on cell survival is not always readily available, so simulations may be necessary for calculating post-irradiation cell survival probabilities. The inclusion of 3D tumor growth models into the pipeline demonstrates a realistic tumor growth at the earliest stages and paves the way for more complex tumor growth models, which are appropriate for other scenarios. 

Research Details

  • The multicellular model used for tumor growth was CompuCell3D (CC3D).
  • The Monte Carlo radiation transport code used was Geant4.
  • Individual cell irradiation was conducted using the software TOPAS-nBio.
  • Cell repair was modeled using Medras. 

Facility: The CADES computing system at ORNL was used to conduct simulation. 

Sponsor/Funding: DOE 

Team: Paul Inman, Ashok Tiwari, Matthew Andriotty, John Gounley, Greeshma Agasthya, and Anuj Kapadia.