Cerenkov light emission from beta-emitting radionuclides was first measured in biological tissue less than five years ago. It is, nevertheless, already a growing area of research within the biomedical optics community. Cerenkov emission, which is primarily emitted in the blue wavelengths, has demonstrated a number of applications including noninvasive small animal imaging of beta-emitting radionuclides, monitoring of tissue oxygen saturation during radiation therapy, and excitation of a red shifted fluorophore using Forster resonance energy transfer (FRET) like phenomenon. The novelty of these research efforts demonstrates the necessity for a simulation software package to fully interrogate the light-transport properties of optical measurements of Cerenkov emission in biological media aiding in the optimization of Cerenkov emission measurement tools. Cerenkov emission cannot be easily modeled utilizing analytical methods and thus requires stochastic Monte Carlo (MC) based methods. Although multiple versions of MC code are publically available, none are currently able to consider all aspects of the generation and transport of Cerenkov photons in turbid media. In the manuscript by Glaser et al., a tissue optics software package that interfaces with existing MC architecture is developed and validated for the simulation of radiation-induced light transport in biological media for the first time. The manuscript presents an open source software package capable of accurately representing all aspects of the Cerenkov radiation process in biological media.
The software package developed by Glaser et al. is based on the previously available object-oriented toolkit for the simulation of particle propagation through matter, the Geometry and Tracking 4 (GEANT4) software package interfaced with an architecture for medically oriented simulations termed GAMOS. The software package developed in the current study utilizes the GEANT4/GAMOS architecture to enable users to easily simulate the stochastic transport of both high-energy and optical photons generated via Cerenkov radiation. Validation studies of the software to accurately model spatially, temporally, and angularly resolved optical photon transport in homogeneous and heterogeneous biological media are demonstrated. This manuscript represents the first published account of a rigorous validation of the GEANT4/GAMOS package for light transport in comparison to accepted standards within the biomedical optics community. Since Cerenkov radiation requires coupled consideration of high-energy and optical photon transport the GEANT4/GAMOS software package fills a light transport-modeling niche not met by all previous MC simulation software packages.
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