Portable Software Tools for
3-D Radiation Therapy Planning

Jonathan Jacky,
Ira Kalet, Jun Chen, James Coggins, Steve Cousins, Robert Drzymala, William Harms, Michael Kahn, Sharon Kromhout-Schiro, George Sherouse, Gregg Tracton, Jonathan Unger, Martin Weinhous, and Di Yan.

International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology and Physics

November 1994


Purpose: Produce a collection of software tools (computer programs) that support three-dimensional (3D) radiation therapy planning. The tools are not a complete 3D planning sytem. Instead, they work with any 3D planning system that meets certain minimal specifications. The tools assist in deriving anatomic data from images, generating target volume contours, evaluating treatment plans and verifying accurate treatment delivery. The tools are portable: they can run without source code changes in any computing environment that provides a library of functions and data definitions called the Foundation. The Foundation couples the portable tools to the (usually non-portable) file system and dose calculation associated with a particular 3D planning system.

Methods and Materials: Tools were written at three different (geographically separated) institutions. Software developers from all three sites specified the Foundation. The programmers' interface to the Foundation is portable, but a Foundation implementation need not be portable. Each group implemented a Foundation adapted to the (different) 3D planning system used at their site.

Results: All tools run at all three sites without source code changes. Each Foundation was implemented in a few person-months of programming effort. The program text and documentation for the tools have been placed in the public domain.

Conclusions: It is practical and economical to produce portable radiotherapy treatment planning tools. Providers of 3D planning programs should offer Foundations for their systems, so they can be used with tools. Researchers considering new computer programs should write them as tools, so they can work with any 3D planning system.

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