SPANISH scientists are working on a new way of treating cancer which involves high doses of ultra fast radiation in controlled proton flash radiotherapy.
The Institute of Instrumentation for Molecular Imaging(i3M) is running experiments involving fast radiation being administered via a laser for less than a second on living cells.
The study will investigate the impact of different dose rates.
The Polytechnic University of Valencia is one of the institutions involved in the project and said, in a statement, that conventional radiotherapy sees a continuous beam of particles applied to a patient.
They observed that ‘over recent years, it has been observed that if a higher radiation dose is given in less than a second, then the negative impact on healthy issues is considerably reduced’.
The conclusion is that the effects of radiotherapy not only depend on the dose administered, but also on the rate of the application of the dose.
To achieve high-intensity ultra fast doses, laser accelerators are regarded as perfect for the job because they are capable of concentrating protons ‘in very short bursts and with very high instantaneous doses’.
There is just one laser system in Spain that meets the required criteria and is located at Salamanca’s Pulsed Laser Centre and it allows each sample to be irradiated ‘in a few minutes’.
Cell cultures of human adenocarcinoma- a type of lung cancer- are used in the tests.
The next stage of the studies will involve a laser that will fire 800 beam shots over a few hours as well as increasing the instantaneous source.