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Novel Radiation Treatment Developed to Treat Cancer Patients

A unique tracking radiation therapy has been developed by the University of Michigan researchers to treat cancer patients.

When X-rays heat body tissues, the precise 3D imaging technology collects and amplifies minute sound waves. The radiation dose throughout the body can be mapped by medical specialists, providing them with new data to direct therapies in real-time.

It offers a unique perspective on a situation that doctors had previously been unable to "see."

Real-time 3D imaging allows medical professionals to more precisely target radiation treatment at malignant cells while limiting exposure to other tissues.

X-rays are converted into heat energy when they are absorbed by bodily tissues. The rapid tissue expansion brought on by the heating results in the creation of a sound wave.

As the acoustic wave is weak, conventional ultrasound technology typically cannot detect it. An array of ultrasonic transducers placed on the patient's side of the system, developed by the University of Michigan, detects the wave. The signal is amplified and then sent to an ultrasound machine, for the purpose of reconstructing an image.

An oncology clinic can change the radiation dose or path throughout the procedure with the images at hand to ensure safer and more efficient treatments.

Another advantage of U-M’s technology is that it can be quickly added to existing radiation therapy equipment without significantly altering the routine operations utilized by clinicians.

The University of Michigan has submitted a patent protection application and is looking for collaborators to help commercialize the invention. The National Cancer Institute and the Michigan Institute for Clinical and Health Research provided funding for the research.

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