Sometime in the future, particular systems could barrage cancer patients with particles to deliver a full course of radiation therapy in negligible microseconds, new research recommends.
Utilizing a rising procedure known as flash radiotherapy, doctors could eradicate tumors in a small amount of the time and at a fraction of the expense of traditional radiation therapy — from a certain point of view. Starting at yet, the lightning-quick strategy has not confronted formal clinical preliminaries in human patients, albeit one man got the experimental treatment, analysts announced in October 2019 in the journal Radiotherapy and Oncology. Presently, a new mouse study, published Jan. 9 in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology and Physics, has additionally shown the guarantee of this cancer therapy.
“It has the same tumor-control rate [as conventional radiation] but significantly less effect on normal tissue,” said study co-author Dr. Keith Cengel, an associate professor of radiation oncology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
As such, the flash strategy seems to kill off tumor cells while saving healthy tissues. The method works by assaulting the tumor site with a constant flow of particles, typically light particles, called photons, or negatively charged electrons. Presently, Cengel and his partners have thrown another particle into the mix: the positively charged proton.
“It is unique in the sense that … it has never been done,” said Marie-Catherine Vozenin, head of the radiation-oncology lab at Lausanne University Hospital in Switzerland, who was not involved in the study. That’s not to say that deploying protons to fight cancer cells is necessarily a better strategy than using photons or electrons, she added. “All of these different strategies have some pros and cons.”
So, every particle might be uniquely fit to focus on certain tumor types in explicit spots in the body, which means protons may offer the best treatment option for certain patients, Cengel said.
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