The MedAustron Particle Therapy Accelerator (MAPTA) is a synchrotron-based medical accelerator providing 60-250 MeV proton and 120-400 MeV/u carbon ion beams for tumour treatment and non-clinical research.
Clinical operation of MAPTA has started in December 2016 on one horizontal beamline supplying protons to one of the three foreseen treatment rooms. Since then, two additional beam lines – one horizontal, one vertical – supplying a second treatment room with protons have been added to the clinically used accelerator configuration. Outside of the clinical use, the commissioning of new clinical and non-clinical beams (in particular C6+) and the development of functional upgrades for MAPTA is still ongoing.
This contribution focuses on the current challenges encountered during MAPTA operation. Many of them are related to the parallel operation of MAPTA for clinical use, for non-clinical research and for commissioning purposes, which require different machine configurations and quality assurance measures to be applied. Additional challenges are mainly related to the clinical workflow and involve the reduction of technical and administrative downtime, the information flow between users and operators, the handling of delays, and the processing of short-notice machine time requests from the medical user.