To study the effects of cranial irradiation, we have constructed an all-plastic mouse bed equipped with an immobilizing head holder. The bed integrates with our in-house Small Animal Radiation Research Platform (SARRP) for precision focal irradiation experiments and cone-beam CT. We assessed the reproducibility of our head holder to determine the need for CT-based targeting in cranial irradiation studies. To measure the holder's reproducibility, a C57BL/6 mouse was positioned and CT-scanned nine times. Image sets were loaded into the Pinnacle3 radiation treatment planning system and were registered to one another by one investigator using rigid body alignment of the cranial regions. Rotational and translational offsets were measured. The average vector shift between scans was 0.80 ± 0.49 mm. Such a shift is too large to selectively treat subregions of the mouse brain. In response, we use onboard imaging to guide cranial irradiation applications that require sub-millimeter precision.
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