GFN-UCM. Grupo de Física Nuclear -
Dpto. de Estructura de la Materia, Física Térmica y Electrónica. Facultad de CC Físicas. Avda. Complutense, s/n - 28040 Madrid (Spain)

Proton therapy is a radiotherapy technique that potentially offers a better treatment conformation than conventional radiotherapy (photons and electrons), and consequently, the number of prototherapy centers around the world is continuously increasing. However, there are a number of uncertainties around the exact location of the dose deposited inside the patient that prevent maximizing the potential of the technique, because the precision required in this technique is much greater than the one needed in radiotherapy. Therefore, several techniques have been proposed to verify in-vivo that dose deposited in each treatment session has been delivered as expected. However, these techniques have not reached a level of maturity sufficient to allow their use in the clinic. For this reason, this project proposes the development of novel methodologies that aim to solve the deficiencies of the verification techniques in proton therapy. The group leads the project Protontherapy and Nuclear Techniques for Oncology (PRONTO), funded by the local governement of Comunidad de Madrid (B2017/BMD-388) (

Besides PRONTO, the nuclear physics group (GFN) collaborates with HC Hospitales Marbella ( as an external advisor in preparation of the future Marbella PTC (Marbella Proton Therapy center), currently in its planning phase. The GFN collaborates in the preparation of all technical documents leading to a public tender for equipment selection and facility planning, including vendor selection and shielding calculations.

The group also collaborates with the physics department of Ruber International hospital, in two projects for dose monitorization of standard LINACs and Cyberknife devices using gammaacoustic equipment and fast scintillating crystals.

In December 2016, the group organized and hosted the 1st Spanish Workshop in Protontherapy (, with over 200 international attendees, participation of 8 industrial vendors (including Varian, RaySearch, Siemens, IBA, Hitachi or Phillips) and over 10,000 € in sponsorships.

Dr. Daniel Sánchez Parcerisa developed and maintain the proton treatment planning system FoCa (, an in-house modular treatment planning system, developed entirely in MATLAB, which includes forward dose and LET calculation of proton radiotherapy plans in both active and passive modalities as well as a generic optimization suite for inverse treatment planning. The software has a dual education and research purpose. From the educational point of view, it can be an invaluable teaching tool for educating medical physicists, showing the insights of a treatment planning system from a well-known and widely accessible software platform. From the research point of view, its current and potential uses range from the fast calculation of any physical, radiobiological or clinical quantity in a patient CT geometry, to the development of new treatment modalities not yet available in commercial treatment planning systems. This software is a collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA), an Ivy League school and world-reference hospital in radiation oncology. The collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania extends to another project involving ionoacoustic verification of proton beams with wide-bandwidth hydrophones developed in collaboration with CSIC.

Dr. Sánchez-Parcerisa also collaborates with the UCLouvain (Belgium) and Washington University St. Louis (USA) in the development of new algorithms for proton therapy dose and linear energy transfer calculation in patient geometries.

Related publications:

  • A.M. Barragán Montero, K. Souris, D. Sánchez-Parcerisa, E. Sterpin & J.A. Lee 2017. Performance of a hybrid Monte-Carlo Pencil Beam dose algorithm for proton therapy inverse planning. Med. Phys., in press.
  • A. Mazal, D. Sánchez-Parcerisa, et al 2016. Development in technology and medical physics in radiotherapy: special considerations hadron therapy. Revista Nuclear Española 369, 32. Download
  • D. Sánchez-Parcerisa et al 2016. Range optimization for mono-and bi-energetic proton modulated arc therapy with pencil beam scanning. Phys. Med. Biol. 61 (21), N565. DOOI: 10.1088/0031-9155/61/21/N565
  • D. Sánchez-Parcerisa et al 2016. Analytical calculation of proton linear energy transfer in voxelized geometries including secondary protons. Phys. Med. Biol. 61 (4), 1705. DOI: 10.1088/0031-9155/61/4/1705

Related presentations:

- A. Barragan Montero, K Souris, D Sanchez-Parcerisa, J Lee, E Sterpin. "Performance of a hybrid monte carlo pencil beam dose algorithm for proton therapy", AAPM, Denver CO, July 2017 (Oral presentation)
- OM Giza, JM Udias, D Sanchez-Parcerisa, "Estudio de optimización del montaje experimental para mediciones gammaacústicas en un haz clínico de fotones", XXXVI Reunion Bienal de la Sociedad Española de Física, Santiago, July 2017 (Poster presentation)
- V Sanchez-Tembleque, D Sanchez-Parcerisa, LM Fraile, JM UDias, "Medida simultánea del espectro y el perfil temporal del pulso de un LÍNAC desde fuera de la sala", XXXVI Reunion Bienal de la Sociedad Española de Física, Santiago, July 2017 (Poster presentation)
- AM Barragan Montero, K Souris, D Sanchez-Parcerisa, A Carabe-Fernandez, J Lee, E Sterpin. "Implementation of a hybrid superfast Monte Carlo Pencil beam dose optimizer for proton therapy", ESTRO 2017, Vienna, May 2017 (poster presentation). DOI: 10.1016/S0167-8140(17)31954-0
-  V Sanchez-Tembleque, D Sanchez-Parcerisa, LM Fraile, JM UDias, "Medida simultánea del espectro y el perfil temporal del pulso de un LÍNAC desde fuera de la sala", SEFM-SEPT Joint Simposium, Girona, June 2017 (Poster presentation). Download