The use of charged particles as an alternative to x-ray or gamma ray radiation can extend the scope of radiotherapy to tumours previously requiring invasive surgery, while speeding up diagnosis and reducing collateral damage to surrounding tissue.
This fast emerging field of charged particle cancer therapy was thrashed out at a recent workshop organised by the European Science Foundation (ESF), which discussed new instruments that will lead to improvements in both diagnosis and treatment. Diagnosis and treatment are closely linked in radiotherapy, since more accurate location of tumour cells in turn enables the radiation dose to be more precisely focused.
"Developments in imaging have allowed improvements in radiation beam placement, and the two areas tend to go together," said Barbara Camanzi, convenor of the ESF workshop, and specialist in radiotherapy instrumentation at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory Department of Particle Physics near Oxford in the UK. This in turn improves prospects of destroying the tumour while reducing collateral damage to healthy tissue nearby. Such collateral damage causes not just tissue death, but can lead to induction of secondary tumours, which has been a long standing problem for traditional radiotherapy using x rays. Some tissue cells close to the tumour receive enough radiation to trigger mutations in their DNA that can cause them to become malignant, but not enough radiation to kill them.
"The fall in collateral radiation deposition in the body ranges from a factor of 2 to 15 depending on the precise treatment indication and body site," noted Bleddyn Jones, an oncologist attending the ESF workshop, from the Gray Institute for Radiation Oncology and Biology in Oxford, UK. "All techniques using external gamma rays and x-rays impart a larger dose to surrounding healthy tissue with long term risks of functional changes and malignant induction."
The improved imaging made possible by use of charged particles also makes it easier to detect tumours when they are small, improving prospects for patients whether or not they actually undergo radiotherapy. "Making an earlier diagnosis of a smaller cancer increases the chance of cure following either particle beam therapy or surgery," said Camanzi.
However, the ESF workshop identified that further significant improvements in instrumentation were required, both for treatment and diagnosis, to exploit the full potential of charged particles for cancer therapy. Further work was also required to adjust dose to minimise the risk of secondary tumour formation caused by the radiation, which remains a risk with use of charged particles. The ESF workshop also addressed the need for improved design of the gantry systems used both for imaging and to deliver the radiation doses in treatment.
The other important issue addressed by the ESF workshop is educating radiotherapy consultants in the new techniques so that they are in a position to determine the best form of treatment for each individual case. Sometimes charged therapy may be the best method, in other cases traditional x-ray therapy, and in yet others surgery or chemotherapy, or combinations of these.
"There is a need to hold more educational and training meetings on particle therapy especially in those European countries that at present have no plans for such facilities," said Camanzi, who noted that a follow up symposium in Oxford had been proposed for 2010.
Thomas Lau | alfa
4th UKP-Workshop 2017 – Save the Date!
15.09.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT
Latest news around battery research
05.09.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Werkstoff- und Strahltechnik IWS
Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.
This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...
Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion
Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
26.10.2016 | Materials Sciences
26.10.2016 | Health and Medicine
26.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy