Want Source Code and full wiki access?

See Licensing PLanUNC, below.

Want Win32 exe's?
See the public Downloads page


Welcome to the new official PLanUNC wiki.
Goal: a fast & authoritative reference
Audience: medical physicists (clinic and/or research), graphics & GUI programmers, students
Authors: UNC and collaborators
  • Collect: clear, concise & complete documentation collaboratively for complex topics such as the Dose Code, Dose Optimizer, hardware/software configurations, rendering and language issues.
  • Explore: we focus on physics formulae, source code, flow charts of code, charts, and other detailed explanations.  Expect tricky code to be explained here.
  • Organize: because our content is (mostly) searchable, we can organize it loosely and readers should still be able to find information.  [ Q: Are user guides and other PDFs directly searchable from this site's search bar? ]
  • Comment: technical comments are most welcome; comments will be routinely folded into the body of pages.


PLanUNC, or PLUNC as it is known familiarly, is an adaptable and extensible software system for radiation treatment planning. Its features include graphical tools for contouring anatomical structures, virtual simulation, dose calculation and analysis, and IMRT planning.  It is suitable for External Beam Photon/Electron therapy, but currently contains no LDL/HDL or Proton code (easy to add).  PLanUNC is built on the principles of fast, light programming -- complex solutions done simply by specific (non-general) but extensible code.

Our goal for PLUNC is to provide a customizable research platform, free to licensed users, to promote investigation of new techniques and methods for image-guided radiation treatment simulation and delivery. Licensed users have access to source code and limited support.  All users have access to user and developer documentation, training (as funding allows), and the PLUNC research community.

The PLanUNC research platform is funded by the National Institutes of Health. PLUNC remains under active development at UNC.

PLanUNC (PLUNC) is a portable, adaptable, and extensible set of software tools for radiotherapy treatment planning (RTP) that has been under active development in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of North Carolina (UNC) since 1985. In 1992, development work branched into separate paths at UNC (PLanUNC) and Sherouse Systems, Inc. (GRATISTM). The current UNC tools encompass the full range of RTP External Beam functions including image importing and processing, virtual simulation, dose calculation, plan evaluation, and planning for intensity modulated radiotherapy. PLanUNC source code and related software are licensed without fee to qualified facilities to support research involving new methods for planning and delivering radiation therapy, and to support RTP training for dosimetrists, physicists, radiation therapists, and radiation oncology residents. Research milestones of the development and application of PLanUNC can be found here.

Source Code

PlanUNC source code is written in a modular fashion using a combination of C and C++, with some Perl scripts where appropriate, eg, to invoke applications in the right order. The code has been compiled on versions of Linux, UNIX, Microsoft Windows, and Apple Macintosh OS X. The user interface is based on a freely available, cross-platform widget library called FLTK. PlanUNC has a flexible multithreaded environment that can make use of multiple processors within a single computer as well as distributed processing for dose computation across multiple computers. Programmer documentation has been developed to assist researchers in modifying and extending PLanUNC source code.

Purpose of The Wiki

UNC and other research and education facilities have found PLanUNC to be a valuable resource. However, the lack of complete documentation and other resources for user support has limited PLanUNC from fulfilling its true potential. The National Center for Research Resources and the National Cancer Institute have joined together to fund development of resources needed to better support users, including this website, under NIH grant RO1 RR 01861501. Current resources include a user guide, programmer documentation, and demo and source code versions of PLanUNC. Annual user workshops were well attended in Spring 2006 and 2008. As funding allows, future software resources may include, for example, interfaces to tools in the National Library of Medicine (NLM) Insight Segmentation and Registration Toolkit (ITK) (www.itk.org), and interfaces to tools developed by the UNC Medical Image Display and Analysis Group (MIDAG) (midag.cs.unc.edu).

This wiki was developed in 2011 to further advance collaboration by allowing anyone to contribute documentation and allow us to collect all PLUNC information in a single editable platform.

Licensing PLanUNC

Institutions, departments, and other facilities engaged in research and education involving radiation therapy can apply to obtain a license to use PLanUNC source code. Individuals who choose to register may obtain a copy of the user guide and a compiled demo version that runs under Windows.

Licenses for use of PLanUNC -- and full use of this wiki, which includes PLUNC source code to authorized users -- are available without cost and can be acquired by sending a written request on your institution's official letterhead and by including a signed copy of the PLanUNC license form (see link, below).   As part of your license request, you must submit a letter of intent written by a representative of the applying institution to state the intended use for PLanUNC.  Requests lacking this letter will be returned. License requests, including a separate letter of intent, should be sent to:

PLanUNC License Request
c/o Sha Chang
Department of Radiation Oncology
Campus Box 7512
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7512

Click here to download the license agreement.

Other Available Software

In addition to the main PLanUNC software, the following packages are now available:

  1. PluncSnap: A version of PLanUNC equipped with open source segmentation package ITK-SNAP.
  2. Monte Carlo Interface: A set of programs making PLanUNC treatment plan-compatible with the Monte Carlo dose calculation software EGS4 (separately licensed from NRC)
  3. ConStruct: a version of the anastruct editor augmented with rigid/deformable image registration and corresponding contour warps, multi-image display and live image registration tools.

Subpages (2): Milestones Screen snaps