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Cell and Animal Radiation Core (CARC)

Overview of Services

The CARC (named Cell and Animal Radiation Core) provides “turn-key” services to users for performing precision, image-guided radiotherapy with both Photons and Protons (including FLASH radiotherapy) on rodent models and canine patients. A dedicated team of Physicists will also provide expert dosimetry and treatment planning capabilities. The CARC is one of the most advanced animal radiation facilities in the US, essentially modeling state-of-the-art radiation modalities currently used in the clinic.

The facility is currently operating as a shared resource servicing over 50 different PIs throughout the University of Pennsylvania, representing 5 different schools (Medicine, Engineering, Arts and Sciences, Dental and Veterinary Medicine). Instrumentation consists of two SARRP 200 Small Animal Radiation Research Platforms (Xstrahl Inc., Suwanee, GA). The first SARRP was obtained in 2009 through an award of an NIH S10 grant to Dr. Costas Koumenis (RBI program) and Dr. Cameron Koch form the Department of Radiation Oncology. This represented one of the very first prototypes of what is eventually become a mature and proven radiation research technology. The facility has recently acquired a third generation SARRP 200 instrument via funds provided by the Department of Radiation Oncology and the Mark Foundation through an award to ACC member Dr. Andy Minn (Breast Cancer Program). The current generation of SARRP benefits from that shared experience and numerous product improvements, including an integrated shielded cabinet accessible through a sliding door with leaded glass viewing window. The device offers the ability to acquire cone-beam computed tomographic imaging (CBCT) with variable voxel resolution down to 0.01 mm. CBCT images are acquired by operating the x-ray source at low power, while rotating the animal stage, with the x-ray gantry positioned opposite to the laterally mounted flat panel imager. The reconstructed data is stored in DICOM format. This allows for conformal radiotherapy plans to be generated or image fusion with other imaging data sets including MR (any orientation), PET/CT, and SPECT/CT. The first generation SARRP has been placed in front of the proton beam path and sits on rails, allowing for efficient Proton and Photon radiotherapy, while the newer SARRP is housed in an adjacent room, has its own shielding and is dedicated to Photon radiotherapy. An exciting recent development in the past year is the ability to deliver ultra-high dose Proton Radiotherapy (FLASH) to rodent models and canine patients. FLASH radiotherapy is a very new concept in radiation biology and holds the promise to reduce toxicity to normal tissues while being equally effective as conventional radiotherapy to tumors. By bringing together modern clinical 3-D volumetric radiotherapy planning and delivery with image guidance, the SARRP and similar devices are revolutionizing x-ray radiation effects research in the pre-clinical setting. Three kV irradiators that belong to the facility, XRad 320ix cabinet X-ray and two Cs gamma irradiators, are also among the most frequently used Shared Resources at Penn.

Research Resource Identifier (RRID)

Our RRID is: RRID:SCR_022377.  Please cite us using this identifer when publishing your results.


Koumenis Costas, PhD             Shiva Shahrampour Aydin Godlewski
Scientific Director             Technical Director Resource Technologist

Location and hours of operation

Hours Location



3400 Civic Center Blvd

Philadelphia, PA 19104

Links and Resources



Name Role Phone Email Location
Christie Foti
Financial Manager
Smilow 8-130
Jenine Iannaccone
Financial Manager
Smilow 8-125
Shiva Shahrampour
Technical Director
Smillow C-035W
Aydin Godlewski
Resource Technologist
Smillow C-035W