Algorithms and programs being developed by scientists from the Moscow Physics Engineering Institute and the Keldysh Institute of Applied Mathematics RAS with the support of the International Science and Technology Centre will help oncologists to accurately and rapidly calculate an optimal dose of radiation. Then, they will be able to determine the direction and intensity of radioactive flows so as to have maximum harmful effect on the tumour with minimum irradiation of healthy tissue, and all within a few minutes.
Unfortunately humans are not yet aware of totally safe means to fight malignant tumours. In the final analysis all resources that kill a tumour cause varying degrees of harm to healthy cells; they destroy the tissues of the heart, kidneys, testicles and so on. Sometimes the most effective kind of therapy and, strange though it may seem, the least harmful to the patient, is the so-called optimal beam therapy, in the course of which the dose required to treat the tumour is received by the tumour itself, while the patient’s remaining organs and tissues receive a minimum dose load.
Naturally the developers of the beam therapy apparatus are doing their utmost to optimize where possible the dose distribution and, to do this, to increase the accuracy of its calculation. In an ideal situation a beam is required which would hit the tumour directly and which would rapidly weaken beyond its outer limits. But is it possible to calculate in advance the parameters of the beam in such a way so as to pre-plan the radiation dose throughout its path in the patient’s organism? Our body after all is not an ideal homogeneous environment; knowing the laws of interaction of it with one or another form of radiation, it would be easy to calculate the dose in each point of the organism during the course of the irradiation. Skin, bone, muscle: as such all tissue types interact with radiation in their own way, not to mention the fact that the human body surface itself is nothing if not irregular.
Andrew Vakhliaev | alfa
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