Thoracic radiation therapy can have negative impact on cancer patients' quality of life
Dutta, Pushpavanam, Rege, and colleagues made a hydrogel that can be applied directly to a patient's skin in order to easily measure radiation doses. Mixed into the hydrogel are gold salts and a few amino acids. Without radiation, the gel is colorless, but as it is exposed to radiation it becomes pink. The color intensity is directly correlated to the amount of radiation. At the end of a treatment, it is painlessly peeled off the skin and the color is measured with a common and relatively inexpensive lab instrument, an absorption spectrometer.
Some dose monitors are currently available for patients.
One looks like a sheet of paper (Radiochromic Films), but it is sensitive to light and heat, so it must be carefully handled, and requires long processing times. Another is a tiny sensor (NanoDot®), which is expensive and requires multiple arrays to cover an area of the skin. Ours can be used directly onto the skin and is relatively inexpensive." Subhadeep Dutta, graduate student
The gel has performed well in testing and was recently used on canine cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy. "Our next plan is to convert it to an app-based system, where you can take a picture of a gel and that can predict the dose based on programming in the app. It's just measuring color, which is easy to do," says Dutta. The team is hopeful that future studies will lead to translation of this technology for use with human patients in the clinic. Source:
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