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Prompt gamma ray diagnostics and enhanced hadron-therapy using neutron-free nuclear reactions
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We propose a series of simulations about the potential use of Boron isotopes to trigger neutron-free (aneutronic) nuclear reactions in cancer cells through the interaction with an incoming energetic proton beam, thus resulting in the emission of characteristic prompt gamma radiation (429 keV, 718 keV and 1435 keV). Furthermore assuming that the Boron isotopes are absorbed in cancer cells, the three alpha-particles produced in each p-11B aneutronic nuclear fusion
reactions can potentially result in the enhancement of the biological dose absorbed in the tumor region since these multi-MeV alpha-particles are stopped inside the single cancer cell, thus allowing to spare the surrounding tissues. Although a similar approach based on the use of 11B nuclei has been proposed in [Yoon et al. Applied Physics Letters 105, 223507 (2014)], our work demonstrate, using Monte Carlo simulations, the crucial importance of the use of 10B nuclei (in a solution containing also 11B) for the generation of prompt gamma-rays, which can be applied to medical imaging. In fact, we demonstrate that the use of 10B nuclei can enhance the intensity of the 718 keV gamma-ray peak more than 30 times compared to the solution containing only 11B nuclei. A detailed explanation of the origin of the different prompt gamma-rays, as well as of their application as real-time diagnostics during a potential cancer treatment, is here discussed.
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