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ESF workshop makes major advance in cancer radiotherapy
Date:11/7/2008

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.


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Contact: Dr. Barbara Camanzi
B.Camanzi@rl.ac.uk
44-123-544-5525
European Science Foundation
Source:Eurekalert

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