Navigation Links
Safer, more accurate radiation therapy for expecting mothers
Date:12/18/2007

Troy, N.Y. Developing fetuses are extremely sensitive to radiation, which poses an impossible dilemma for expecting mothers in need of screening or treatment for cancer. Now researchers from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have developed a new set of modeling tools that could enable safer, more accurate, and more effective radiation therapy and nuclear medicine imaging procedures for pregnant women.

Radiation is a doubled-edged sword: It holds the power to cure cancer, but if used improperly it can also cause serious damage to the human body. The situation is even more critical with pregnant females, as any errant radiation could severely harm and impede the growth of the fetus.

The human body is a particular challenge to model because of its wide variety of organs, each with a complex and unique shape, said X. George Xu, professor of nuclear and biomedical engineering at Rensselaer, who is leading the project. Pregnant females are even more difficult to model using current methods, so we took an entirely new approach.

Physicians use advanced computer simulations to determine the correct dose of radiation to administer to patients. These computer simulations are based on sophisticated virtual models of the human body. About 30 of these models, sometimes called phantoms, have been developed worldwide.

The data needed to build such models, however, requires extensive X-rays and computed tomography scans. Since pregnant patients are prohibited from undergoing X-rays or other imaging procedures, there has never been enough data to create an accurate phantom of a pregnant woman.

These new models should be extremely useful for understanding the risks of radiation, and for better planning radiation imaging and treatment for pregnant women, Xu said. The tools we have developed for this research should also open up several new avenues for improving the field of radiation dosimetry.

Conventional methods of phantom creation simply cannot account for the rapid changes of a pregnant womans internal physiology as her organs shift to accommodate the growing fetus. So instead of employing the conventional constructive solid geometry (CSG) tools to construct the computer model, Xu and his team turned to boundary representations (BREP) tools. CSG models are based on building and connecting simple shapes such as spheres, cones, and cylinders to create a larger structure.

BREP is more flexible and features a more robust toolbox for manipulating the surface of model components. BREP is widely used in the manufacturing industry for computer-aided design , and in the entertainment industry to create computer-animated models for movies and video games, Xu said. As it turns out, BREP software is also highly effective for creating medical phantoms consisting of complex organs.

Using this new set of tools, Xu and his team created three 3-D models of pregnant females at various gestational stages: three months, six months, and nine months. The team built the models of the expecting mother and fetus organ by organ, relying on computer-generated mesh models, as well as supplanting the model with data from rare CT scan images of a pregnant patient. The images were taken around 2004 in an upstate New York hospital, in a situation where both the woman and her physician were unaware she was pregnant. The existence of such scans was publicized, and Xu contacted the physician to obtain copies of the scans.

Xu said BREP turned out to be extremely effective for modeling the complex topology of human organs, and he expects the practice to catch on.

We are convinced that it would have been impossible to develop such a complete, consistent, and anatomically realistic set of models from medical images that are hard to come by, Xu said. It is clear that the current trend will continue to involve BREP type of modeling.

The research project, funded by the National Cancer Institute, was presented in the article A boundary-representation method for designing whole-body dosimetry models: pregnant females at the ends of three gestational periods RPI-P3, -P6, and -P9, published in the most recent issue of the journal Physics in Medicine and Biology.

With the models complete, Xu and his team will share their data with other researchers investigating the same topic. Xu said it will likely be about one year before the models are verified and accepted by the medical community, and then integrated into computer software as a new standard for determining and administering radiation therapy to expecting mothers.


'/>"/>

Contact: Michael Mullaney
mullam@rpi.edu
518-276-6161
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute  
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. M2SYS Partners With Gnosis Medical Services to Provide Accurate Patient Identification in Developing Countries Through Innovative Biometrics Solution
2. Voice Biometrics Gains Traction as Most Accurate and Convenient Technology to Secure Customer Privacy
3. Scripps scientists develop new tests that identify lethal prion strains quickly and accurately
4. A new radiation therapy treatment developed for head and neck cancer patients
5. Intravenous gene therapy protects normal tissue of mice during whole-body radiation
6. Antioxidants could provide all-purpose radiation protection
7. Bug-Zapper: A dose of radiation may help knock out malaria
8. Atomic bomb survivor, scientists mark 60 years of long-term radiation study
9. St. Jude finds factors that accelerate resistance to targeted therapy in lymphoblastic leukemia
10. UC health news: molecular pathway may predict chemotherapy effectiveness
11. MIT works toward safer gene therapy
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Safer, more accurate radiation therapy for expecting mothers
(Date:6/21/2016)... 21, 2016 NuData Security announced today that ... of principal product architect and that Jon ... customer development. Both will report directly to ... moves reflect NuData,s strategic growth in its product ... customer demand and customer focus values. ...
(Date:6/16/2016)... , June 16, 2016 ... is expected to reach USD 1.83 billion by ... View Research, Inc. Technological proliferation and increasing demand ... are expected to drive the market growth. ... The development of advanced multimodal techniques ...
(Date:6/9/2016)... -- Perkotek an innovation leader in attendance control systems is proud to announce the introduction ... to make sure the right employees are actually signing in, and to even control ... ... ... ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... MONICA, Calif. , June 23, 2016  The Prostate Cancer Foundation ... pioneer increasingly precise treatments and faster cures for prostate cancer. Members of the ... institutions across 15 countries. Read More About the Class ... ... ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... announced the launch of the Supplyframe Design Lab . Located in Pasadena, ... explore the future of how hardware projects are designed, built and brought to ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... LOUISVILLE, Ky. , June 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... from two Phase 1 clinical trials of its ... double-blind, placebo-controlled, single and multiple ascending dose studies ... and pharmacodynamics (PD) of subcutaneous injection in healthy ... APL-2 subcutaneously (SC) either as a single dose ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... YORK , June 23, 2016 ... trading session at 4,833.32, down 0.22%; the Dow Jones Industrial ... S&P 500 closed at 2,085.45, down 0.17%. Stock-Callers.com has initiated ... INFI ), Nektar Therapeutics (NASDAQ: NKTR ), ... Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: BIND ). Learn more about ...
Breaking Biology Technology: