Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Open cancer surgery set to become a thing of the past

25.09.2008
The surgeon’s knife is playing an ever smaller role in the treatment of cancer, as it is replaced by increasingly efficient and safe radiation therapy techniques. Progress in radiation technology will also lead to better detection rates for cancer. This is according to Professor Freek Beekman, who will give his inaugural speech at TU Delft on Wednesday, 24 September.

In his inaugural address, Kanker, krijg de straling , Professor Beekman says that radiation in the form of photons or particles is playing an increasingly important role in the detection and treatment of cancer. The low concentrations of radioactive molecules which gather in tumours, known as ‘tumour seekers’, show up well with techniques such as Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT).

Such techniques mean that tumours can be discovered earlier more often than using X-rays, and it is also more often possible to ascertain properties of tumour cells without removing a sample of the tissue. Doctors can choose the best treatment for the individual patient more quickly and easily.

Removal
Destroying tumours by using radiation, rather than chemotherapy and operations, is also becoming an ever more common method of treatment and, Beekman says, the accuracy of this kind of therapy has improved considerably in recent years. When cancer is treated using external beams of radiation (as in radiotherapy), it is actually not only the tumour that is exposed to large amounts of radiation, but also any healthy tissue that is in the way of the beam. ‘One example of a very powerful emerging technique is the use of a radiation beam consisting of particles (protons), instead of photons. This kind of beam reaches its peak intensity at the site of the tumour. This greatly reduces radiation damage in healthy tissue around the tumour.’

Finally, it is increasingly possible to treat tumours internally, for example by using tumour seekers that emit particles and destroy the tumour on the spot. If this kind of treatment only reaches the tumour and avoids harming healthy tissue, it will make this method superior to proton therapy.

U-SPECT
At TU Delft, Beekman will focus particularly on improving medical instruments, such as the U-SPECT scanner he developed himself. This Ultra-high resolution Single Photon Emission Computed Tomographer has significant advantages over other scanning techniques. The challenge is now to make the U-SPECT more precise and more versatile and use it to create better tumour seekers. The U-SPECT is now only available for use with small laboratory animals, but a version for humans is in the design phase. The diagnosis and treatment of cancer could, according to Beekman, be greatly improved by sharper SPECT images of patients. Various tracers mean that metastases, for example, are visible more quickly. We also hope that the effectiveness of chemotherapy can be seen very soon after beginning treatment by using the right tumour seekers, or even stop therapy with little chance of success from being started at all.
Medical Delta
‘The current quest for more efficient medical screening therapies, radiotherapy and tumour seekers is gradually leading towards better treatments for cancer,’ says Beekman. ‘Progress is gradual and it must be said that there are still a number of technical obstacles. But on the other hand, the type of instrumentation we are talking about here is not always rocket science. The problems we face are mostly not insurmountable.’

Improved technology means that we still have a hope of success in the detection and treatment of cancer. Beekman says it is important that hospitals and engineers work closely together.

The TU Delft is a part of Medical Delta, which provides the structure for this cooperation to take place. In Medical Delta, TU Delft cooperates with Erasmus University, the University of Leiden and their teaching hospitals.

Frank Nuijens | alfa
Further information:
http://www.tudelft.nl

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht MRI contrast agent locates and distinguishes aggressive from slow-growing breast cancer
25.09.2017 | Case Western Reserve University

nachricht Investigators may unlock mystery of how staph cells dodge the body's immune system
22.09.2017 | Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: LaserTAB: More efficient and precise contacts thanks to human-robot collaboration

At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.

Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

An international team of physicists a coherent amplification effect in laser excited dielectrics

25.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

LaserTAB: More efficient and precise contacts thanks to human-robot collaboration

25.09.2017 | Trade Fair News

Highest-energy cosmic rays have extragalactic origin

25.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>