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Radiation Therapy Made More Compatible

According to the research conducted by the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory and colleagues at Stony Brook University // , the IRCCS Neuromed Medical Center in Italy, and Georgetown University it was found that improvements in the existing radiation therapy led to more effective treatment. This then could be widely used in the hospital scenario.

These improved techniques were initially tested on rats and the results of the study are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The technique, microbeam radiation therapy (MRT), previously used a high-intensity synchrotron x-ray source such as a superconducting wiggler at Brookhaven's National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS) to produce parallel arrays of very thin (25 to 90 micrometers) planar x-ray beams (picture the parallel panels of window blinds in the open position) instead of the unsegmented (solid), broad beams used in conventional radiation treatment. Previous studies conducted at Brookhaven and at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in Grenoble, France demonstrated MRT's ability to control malignant tumors in animals with high radiation doses while subjecting adjacent normal tissue to little collateral damage.

But the technique has limitations. For one thing, only certain synchrotrons can generate its very thin beams at adequate intensity, and such facilities are available at only a few research centers around the world. ‘The new development seeks a way out of this situation,’ explained Brookhaven scientist Avraham Dilmanian, lead author of the new study. In this paper, the scientists report results that demonstrate the potential efficacy of significantly thicker microbeams, as well as a way to ‘interlace’ the beams within a well-defined ‘target’ inside the subject to increase their killing potential there, while retaining the technique's hallmark feature of sparing healthy tissue outside that target. First, they exposed the spin
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