Eckelmann developed and delivered the medical control systems for particle accelerator (linear accelerator and synchrotron) and therapy area in the Heidelberg Ion Beam Therapy Center.
Large-scale medical systems
Since November 2009, patients with poorly accessible tumours such as brain tumours are being treated at the Heidelberg Ion-Beam Therapy Center (HIT). The HIT, which is run by Heidelberg University Hospital, is the first hospital-based treatment facility at a clinic in Europe where patients can be treated with protons (hydrogen nuclei) as well as with heavy ions (such as carbon).
Ion beams penetrate into the body without damaging healthy tissue. Precisely targeted and controlled via beam intensity, the ions release their destructive energy with pinpoint accuracy only in the tumour tissue.
The associated control systems place the highest demands on the safety, reliability and precision of control technology. As a subcontractor of Siemens Healthcare, Eckelmann in the field of medical automation has pioneered the medical use of ion beams. Further facilities with the participation of Eckelmann are currently under planning and construction.
Major tasks of the accelerator control system
- Automated ion beam generation, guidance and monitoring according to the requirements of the therapy control system
- Support of beam adjustment and optimisation through automated routines
- Control of more than 250 devices (magnets, high-frequency facilities, beam diagnostic devices, etc.)
- Time resolution in controlling: 1 µs, partly 125 ns
- Synchronicity <= 1 µs for more than 30 s
Major tasks of the therapy control system
- Reservation and arbitration of the treatment places to the accelerator
- Request and targeted application of a defined ion beam according to given treatment plans
- Monitoring and, if required, quick interruption of the ion beam during treatment
- Coordination of numerous associated sub-systems
The therapy control system was designed and produced in accordance with the strict guidelines of the German Medical Devices Act.
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