Scientists have developed a new method of ultrafast radiation treatment of cancer using protons and tested it on animals. Experiments have shown that a single exposure to high doses of radiation has the same therapeutic effect as traditional methods. It is safer for the patient.
Achievement is described in a scientific paper published in International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, and Physics.
Radiation therapy is that doctors kill cancer cells with radiation while minimally damaging healthy tissues. Can be used for this hard electromagnetic radiation (x-ray or gamma), or particle fluxes: electrons, neutrons or protons.
In recent years, scientists actively tested approach known as flash therapy. In the framework of the patient once exposed to high doses of radiation, instead of, as usual, to stretch treatment for several weeks. According to some studies, this method is less harmful to the patient than traditional therapy.
the Technique is experimental, and researchers are doing their first steps. In particular, some research groups have tried treatment with electrons. But they do not penetrate deeply into the body, so they cannot be used to destroy tumors of internal organs.
Other researchers have used electromagnetic radiation, but the existing equipment does not allow the patient to obtain a dose required for the flash treatment.
There are some results for proton flash therapy, but this area still Malaysian. In particular, the previous work used a specially designed installation. Meanwhile, it is important to understand whether you can use this method with traditional equipment for radiation therapy. This, in particular, and was sent a new study.
“This is the first case where someone publishes results demonstrating the possibility to use for generating flash doses of protons, not electron accelerator currently used for clinical treatment,” notes co-author James Metz (James Metz) at the University of Pennsylvania.
the Authors have made to the device was created by irradiation at a dosage of 78 9 gray per second. It is enough that the person received the entire amount due for the full course of treatment, less than a second. For comparison, traditional radiation therapy uses a dose of less than 1 gray per second.
Scientists irradiated the abdominal cavity of the experimental mice with pancreatic cancer. The animals were subjected to a flash treatment, and the rest – traditional treatment. The total dose of both was the same.
the Experiments showed that both methods are equally well eliminate the tumor. However, flash therapy was much more gentle for the cells of the intestine (they are actively dividing, so radiation damage to their DNA is especially dangerous).
By the way, earlier “News.Science” (nauka.vesti.ru) wrote about the way to protect the bowel from high dose radiation. We also talked about cancer treatment using ultrasound and viruses.