Graphene-based nanoplatforms for synergistic tumor therapy and bio-imaging
Now, the study by Metz and the team shows that with technical modifications, proton accelerators can generate the dosage needed to exert the desired biological effects. Since standard detectors are rapidly saturated by high levels of radiation, Metz and team developed apparatus that would measure radiation doses quickly and effectively:
“We have designed and dosimetrically validated a FLASH-PRT system with accurate control of beam flux on a millisecond time scale and online monitoring of the integral and dose delivery time structure.” The Roberts Proton Therapy Center
The Roberts Proton Therapy Center is one of the few facilities in the world to include a research room dedicated to running experiments such as these, where photon and proton radiation techniques can be tested alongside one another in close vicinity to the clinic. Metz says it was this unique arrangement that enabled the team to perform their new FLASH experiments.
We've been able to develop specialized systems in the research room to generate FLASH doses, demonstrate that we can control the proton beam, and perform a large number of experiments to help us understand the implications of FLASH radiation that we simply could not have done with a more traditional research setup. Using this system, we found that FLASH-PRT decreases acute cell loss and late fibrosis after whole-abdomen and focal intestinal RT, whereas tumor growth inhibition is preserved between the 2 modalities.” Metz, University's Roberts Proton Therapy Center
Researchers have said they are already starting to build on the development to see how it could be used in clinical trials, including seeing what would be needed to translate it from the research room to the clinic. Future steps also include plans to design a FLASH delivery system for humans. Journal reference:
Design, Implementation, and in Vivo Validation of a Novel Proton FLASH Radiation Therapy System, Diffenderfer, Eric S. et al. International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics, Volume 106, Issue 2, 440 - 448. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijrobp.2019.10.049
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