Extremely high-dose-rate irradiation, referred to as FLASH, has been shown to be less damaging to normal tissues than the same dose administrated at conventional dose rates. These results, typically seen at dose rates exceeding 40 Gy/s (or 2,400 Gy/min), have been widely reported in studies utilizing photon or electron radiation as well as in some proton radiation studies. Here, we report the development of a proton irradiation platform in a clinical proton facility and the dosimetry methods developed. The target is placed in the entry plateau region of a proton beam with a specifically designed double-scattering system. The energy after the double-scattering system is 227.5 MeV for protons that pass through only the first scatterer, and 225.5 MeV for those that also pass through the second scatterer. The double-scattering system was optimized to deliver a homogeneous dose distribution to a field size as large as possible while keeping the dose rate >100 Gy/s and not exceeding a cyclotron current of 300 nA. We were able to obtain a collimated pencil beam (1.6 × 1.2 cm2 ellipse) at a dose rate of ∼120 Gy/s. This beam was used for dose-response studies of partial abdominal irradiation of mice. First results indicate a potential tissue-sparing effect of FLASH.

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