In an experiment at CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research), located near Geneva, the scientists have demonstrated that a beam of antiprotons can destroy cancer cells considerably more effectively than the types of radiation used to date. In the long term, this can lead to a more effective and more gentle treatment for certain tumours.
The results have just been published in the renowned journal Radiotherapy and Oncology.
The mysterious antiparticles have been common knowledge for decades, but the scientists are the first to show the advantage of using antiprotons to destroy cancer cells. The new technique using antiparticles has a number of benefits:
A comparison of damage to the healthy tissue surrounding the tumour shows that antiproton beams destroy cancer cells much more effectively than the beams used to date. This is because the antiprotons have an effect that slightly resembles grenades. They cause most damage to the patient’s cells right at the target point – just as a grenade only explodes when it gets to the end of its trajectory.Each individual patient therefore requires significantly fewer treatments.
An added advantage of antiproton treatment is that it makes it possible to continuously monitor exactly where the irradiation takes place.
Unfortunately, the promising results will first benefit the treatment system in ten years at the earliest. This is partly because producing antiprotons is expensive and requires setting up large, new accelerators specially designed for the purpose. Secondly, a long list of new measurements are required before clinical tests can begin. However, the important point is that the scientists have now proved the significant, positive effect of antiproton irradiation.
This new knowledge itself is an important radiobiological result because the scientists are the first to demonstrate the biological effect of antiprotons. The new knowledge can therefore be used immediately to increase our understanding of how antiparticle beams inactivate cancer cells. As far as the scientists are concerned, the basic scientific insight they have acquired into the biological effect of antiprotons is a major victory in itself, and one that paves the way towards much more cross-disciplinary research. The composition of the research team illustrates the importance placed on interdisciplinary collaboration, as it involves physicists, hospital physicists, doctors, microbiologists and other experts. In addition to the Danish scientists, the team consists of experts from the USA, Canada, Switzerland, the Netherlands and other countries.
The project is funded by the Danish Cancer Society and the Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation.
Antiprotons do not belong to our worldAn antiproton is a so-called antiparticle. It is thus part of the mirror world that also consists of the positron – the electron’s antiparticle – as well as other exotic particles. A common feature of them all is that they are not normally found in our world. However, antiprotons are produced in large accelerators at CERN, and have been used there to destroy cancer cells.
The special feature of antiprotons is that their speed can be adjusted so they penetrate the tumour without intruding any further into the patient, and thus cause no further tissue damage. The antiprotons find a normal proton inside the tumour, and this pair is converted to energy and other particles – some of which destroy cancer cells – in a disintegration process.
Dan Frederiksen | alfa
APEX takes a glimpse into the heart of darkness
25.05.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie
First chip-scale broadband optical system that can sense molecules in the mid-IR
24.05.2018 | Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science
The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.
Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...
A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.
The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...
At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.
At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...
There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
25.05.2018 | Event News
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
25.05.2018 | Event News
25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering
25.05.2018 | Life Sciences