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New Report Details the Future of Radiation Medicine
Date:5/23/2011

ATLANTA, May 23, 2011 /PRNewswire/ – According to a report released today, radiation medicine holds promise to be an even more effective weapon in the battle against cancer and may ultimately prove to be useful in chronic pain and neurodegenerative disorders. The report is a compendium of the 2011 "Future of Radiation Medicine" symposium, sponsored by Elekta, a company pioneering significant innovations and clinical solutions for treating cancer and brain disorders. During the symposium, leading researchers and clinicians discussed how the field of radiation medicine is rapidly changing.

In the past two decades, significant advances that have been made in radiation medicine with the introduction of computers, robotics and imaging systems. These tools help to sculpt radiation therapy to the precise dimensions of tumors, therefore increasing accuracy and limiting radiation exposure to surrounding healthy tissues. Nearly two-thirds of all cancer patients will receive radiation therapy during their illness.

"In the future, radiation therapy for cancer will be significantly different than today's treatments, simply because current outcomes are unsatisfactory to patients," predicted Dr. Robert D. Timmerman, professor and vice chair of radiation oncology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. "Patients expect that we are actively changing to improve radiation therapy treatment."

For example, Timmerman predicted that conventional radiation therapy, which requires six to eight weeks of daily treatments at much lower doses, will largely be replaced by hypofractionated radiation therapy, which delivers very potent, focused beams of radiation to tumors in five or fewer outpatient sessions of less than 30-60 minutes each. Hypofractionated radiation therapy might also offer a new way to improve survival in properly selected patients with emphysema by selectively causing scarring, or fibrosis, that allows more efficient breathing.


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SOURCE Elekta
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