Future ‘Flash’ Radiation Therapy Delivers Weeks Of Radiation Therapy In Milliseconds

By: | January 19th, 2020

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Radiation therapy is a cancer treatment that uses radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Although it is not a perfect solution, it takes a course of weeks or even months. During this time even healthy cells might get collateral damage from the radiation.

Thanks to researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, for coming up with a solution to this problem. They have put forward a therapy that is expected not only to shorten the time patients spend in treatment, but also to improve their overall outcomes.

FLASH Radiotherapy

This research was published in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, and Physics. The innovative technique is called FLASH Radiotherapy. It is done with protons instead of electrons. Since electrons don’t penetrate very deep into the body, they work well only for shallower cancer types like skin cancer.

Protons used in FLASH Radiothrapy allow it to pass deeper into the body.  Proton will allow radiotherapy to be more useful against a wider range of tumor types. Not only this, this innovative therapy achieves these effects in less than a second…cutting down the duration of radiation sessions.

The team tried this therapy on mice with pancreatic flank tumors. Therapy worked with the same effectiveness as regular radiation therapy. However this ground breaking therapy reduced healthy cell loss. Moreover, it didn’t even cause side effects like intestinal fibrosis, which is a common with radiation therapy.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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