Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Radiotherapy advance points way to noninvasive brain cancer treatment

03.01.2006


With an equal rate of incidence and mortality-the number of those who get it, and the number of those who die from it-Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) is a brain cancer death sentence.



Of the approximately 12,000 people who are diagnosed with GBM annually in the U.S., half will die within a year, and the rest within 3 years. Currently, the only treatments that stretch survival limits are exceptionally invasive surgeries to remove the tumor and radiation treatment with the maximum tolerated dose - all of which leads to a painfully low quality of life. Because of this, researchers are racing to find better therapies to stop or slow GBM.

In the Jan. 1, 2006 issue of the journal Clinical Cancer Research, Gelsomina "Pupa" De Stasio, professor of physics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and her colleagues report on research into using a new radiotherapy technique for fighting GBM with the element gadolinium. The approach might some day lead to less invasive treatment and possibly a cure of this disease.


"It’s the most lethal cancer there is. The only good thing about it is that, if left untreated, death is relatively quick and pain-free, since this tumor does not form painful metastases in other parts of the body," says De Stasio. The therapy, called Gadolinium Synchrotron Stereotactic Radiotherapy (GdSSR), requires a gadolinium compound to find tumor cells and penetrate them, down into their nuclei, while sparing the normal brain. Then, the patient’s head is irradiated with x-rays. For these x-ray photons the whole brain is transparent, while gadolinium is opaque. Then, where gadolinium is localized-in the nuclei of the cancer cells only-what’s known as "the photoelectric effect" takes place.

"Exactly 100 years after Einstein first explained this effect, we have found a way to make it useful in medicine," De Stasio says. "In this effect, atoms absorb photons and emit electrons. The emitted electrons are very destructive for DNA, but have a very short range of action. Therefore, to induce DNA damage that the cancer cells cannot repair, and consequently cell death, gadolinium atoms must be localized in the nuclei of cancer cells."

De Stasio adds that, for the treatment to be effective, gadolinium must be absent from normal cells and be present in the majority of the cancer cell nuclei. The first condition is well demonstrated by MRI, while the second was recently demonstrated using microscopy techniques at the Synchrotron Radiation Center (SRC) in Stoughton.

De Stasio, the first to introduce this technique into the biological and medical fields, is working to develop the therapy to treat GBM. In the current article, she and her colleagues prove that gadolinium reaches more than 90 percent of the cancer cell nuclei, using four different kinds of human glioblastoma cells in culture.

De Stasio developed and oversees the X-ray PhotoElectron Emission spectroMicroscopy (X-PEEM) program at UW Madison’s SRC, where she also serves as interim scientific director.

The technology necessary for eventual treatment would involve miniature synchrotron light sources, which could be similar in size and cost to an MRI machine. De Stasio says the next steps will include animal and possibly human clinical trials.

"If we do see that we can cure animals from their cancers, then it’s worth investigating the molecular biology of this drug and seeing what the uptake mechanism is," she says. "But first, you want to know that it works and that it really has potential for saving lives."

Because of the deadly nature of GBM, De Stasio says an alternative is desperately needed to current therapies that offer little promise for extending life. De Stasio says it will be a year before it is known whether the treatment works in animal models, and likely another five to ten years before clinical trials and available treatments would emerge.

While the human health payoff seems far away, De Stasio says she is committed to the timetable needed for success. "(Fighting cancer) is the type of work that makes you feel good about being a scientist," she says. "If you can really contribute to humanity and do something that’s useful for people, for sick people, it’s really incredibly gratifying."

John Morgan, (608) 877-2357, jmorgan@wisc.edu

Gelsomina De Stasio | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.src.wisc.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Finnish research group discovers a new immune system regulator
23.02.2018 | University of Turku

nachricht Minimising risks of transplants
22.02.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

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: Attoseconds break into atomic interior

A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.

In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...

Im Focus: Good vibrations feel the force

A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.

By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Basque researchers turn light upside down

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Finnish research group discovers a new immune system regulator

23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Attoseconds break into atomic interior

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>