Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

MIT method reveals how radiation damages the body

01.03.2006


Researchers at MIT have devised a new method for examining how radiation damages normal tissue in the body. The knowledge may make it possible to reduce side effects for cancer patients or to develop treatments for radiation exposure.



About 50 percent of all cancer patients are treated with radiation therapy, either alone or in combination with some other type of treatment. Radiation can be very effective in killing tumor cells, but it also kills normal tissues nearby. In the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, this killing of normal cells can cause such side effects as nausea or diarrhea within days or weeks of treatment, and serious GI tissue damage can occur months or years later.

"The long-term effects that occur six months to a year or more after exposure aren’t reversible like the short-term ones, and they are a big unknown," said Associate Professor Jeffrey A. Coderre of MIT’s Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering. The damage is similar to scar tissue formation and can seriously affect tissue function in the GI tract.


"We’ve come up with a tool to selectively irradiate blood vessels to study how radiation damages normal tissue over both the short term and the long term," said Coderre, who is co-author of an article appearing online the week of Feb. 27 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). "This is the first time it has been possible to do this."

Conventional techniques using external radiation beams are not specific enough for this type of study. "We are selectively delivering a radiation dose to all of the cells that make up the microscopic blood vessels throughout the body," he said.

The method Coderre and his colleagues at MIT and UCLA came up with involves putting boron into a drug administered intravenously in mice, and then subjecting the animals to whole-body neutron radiation using the MIT research reactor. Individual boron atoms in the blood capture a neutron, become unstable, and immediately split in half, giving off two short-range radiations (an alpha particle and a lithium ion) in the process.

The boron is kept in the blood by trapping it inside a type of nanoparticle known as a liposome, which is only billionths of a meter in size. These particles are too big to move from the blood into normal tissues, so the short-range radiations from the boron-neutron reactions in the blood only reach the blood vessel walls and cannot damage the normal tissues outside the blood vessels.

By selectively irradiating the blood vessels, it is possible to see where the breakdown of tissue structure and function starts following radiation exposure. And that information could lead to more effective and less damaging treatments, Coderre said.

Coderre said the method can be applied to other tissues. It also has implications for the development of radioprotectors or treatments for radiation exposure. But perhaps the greatest potential is in understanding the sequence of steps that begin at the time of irradiation but take years to create damage.

For example, there will be approximately 240,000 new cases of prostate cancer diagnosed in the United States in 2006. Depending on the dose of radiation delivered to their tumor, anywhere from 20 percent to 40 percent of those patients could show some degree of late damage.

The lead author on the PNAS paper is Bradley W. Schuller, a graduate student in Coderre’s lab. Peter J. Binns and Kent J. Riley, both research scientists in MIT’s Nuclear Reactor Lab, also are authors on the paper, as are Ling Ma and Professor M. Frederick Hawthorne, both at UCLA.

This research was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Institutes of Health and the MIT Center for Environmental Health Sciences.

Elizabeth A. Thomson | MIT News Office
Further information:
http://www.mit.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Antibiotic effective against drug-resistant bacteria in pediatric skin infections
17.02.2017 | University of California - San Diego

nachricht Tiny magnetic implant offers new drug delivery method
14.02.2017 | University of British Columbia

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: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Biocompatible 3-D tracking system has potential to improve robot-assisted surgery

17.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Real-time MRI analysis powered by supercomputers

17.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Antibiotic effective against drug-resistant bacteria in pediatric skin infections

17.02.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>