Can radiation therapy for cancer be shortened to less than ten treatments and still be effective? Research says so.
Credited to a team of experts headed by Dr. Gregory Czarnota of Sunnybrook Research Institute, a development in cancer treatment research sparks hope for those who seek better results without undergoing a long series of treatments. The secret can be summarized into two: “microbubbles” and ultrasound.
In the methodology they developed, microscopic bubbles or “microbubbles” are introduced into the bloodstream. Once these microbubbles reach tumour blood vessels, it causes a major flow disruption in those vessels. With exposure to radiation, these microbubbles reverberate, thereby stimulating the vessels.
The imaging function of ultrasound plays a key role in ensuring that the microbubbles circulate well in the body without posing any threat or danger and, more importantly, in detecting cancers.
The efficacy of microbubble treatment combined with ultrasound was found to be significant particularly in studies conducted on prostate cancer tumours.
As for other cancer types such as those affecting the breast and bladder, researchers aim to release their findings before the year closes. Human clinical trials were also set to commence 12 to 18 months from press time.
Czarnota explains that their approach primarily centers on leaving “50 to 60 percent of the tumour dead” 24 hours after cutting the blood flow to the tumour, thereby making radiation treatments more potent.
According to the scientist, this breakthrough could open the possibility of shortening a typical radiation therapy course of 35 treatments to 5-7 treatments. Furthermore, it may also prevent or minimize toxicity for patients as radiation doses are reduced.
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