Novel cancer treatment to improve the efficiency of radiotherapeutic methods

Scientists at the University of Oxford have developed a new method for improving the efficacy of cancer treatment by simultaneously introducing embolisation particles and for use in the treatment of cancer in combination with X-ray radiation or proton beam radiation. The invention provides a method of treating cancer whereby the patient can be administered a dose of the embolisation particle and then directing X-ray radiation, or proton beam radiation, at a locus or site of the cancer or tumour tissue.

Typically, the step of directing X-ray or proton beam radiation to a locus or site of the cancer or tumour tissue is performed directly after administering the particles to a subject by injection. An important feature of the device is that it is multimodal i.e. you have the physical restriction of blood and nutrients to the tumour coupled with a chemo or radio sensitisation.

A number of different techniques may be used in the management and treatment of cancers. These include chemotherapeutic methods, radiotherapeutic methods, photodynamic therapy, surgical methods, hormonal therapy and embolisation. Embolisation, in particular, is a non-surgical, minimally invasive procedure in which blood vessels are selectively occluded by introducing emboli. In cancer treatments, embolic particles can be introduced in to the blood stream close to the target and lodge in the small vessels which feed the tumour restricting blood flow. As a result, oxygen and nutrient supplies to the tumour are reduced which causes tumour necrosis.

Radiotherapeutic methods and photodynamic therapy are also effective in reducing tumour size. Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is commonly used to treat some types of cancer. PDT involves injecting a photosensitive agent into the bloodstream of a patient. The agent is absorbed by cells all over the body, but it generally accumulates in the tumour due to abnormalities or defects in the tumour vasculature.

It is also rapidly absorbed by cancer cells, which tend to grow and divide much more quickly than healthy cells and hence have a higher metabolic activity. Cancers may also be treated using radiotherapy, which involves the use of ionising radiation, such as x-rays or proton beam radiation. Radiation therapy most commonly uses x-rays but protons or other forms of energy can also be used. Proton beam therapy is a type of radiotherapy that uses a beam of high energy protons rather than x-rays to treat specific types of cancer.

Scientists at Oxford have developed a method of improving the efficacy of cancer treatment by developing a range of embolisation particles to be used in conjunction with x-ray or proton beam radiation.

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