Trial of one-dose radiation therapy for breast cancer
20 May 2007
Doctors at four UK hospitals are conducting a trial of a
technique to reduce radiotherapy treatment for breast cancer from several
weeks to one 30-minute session during surgery.
The trial of the
intraoperative radiation involves three London hospitals, University College
London Hospitals (UCLH), Guy's and the Royal Free, and Ninewells Hospital in
Dundee. The trial will involve 800 women volunteers and is expected to take
two years to obtain results.
The technique was described in a thesis by
Jayant Shayad Vaidya, a student at UCLH, in 2001, and now Senior Lecturer
and Consultant Surgeon at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee.
The technique employs a miniature electron beam-driven x-ray source
that delivers low energy x-ray radiation directly to the tumour site through
a thin tube with a sphere on the end. Depending upon the size of the
surgical cavity, various sizes of spheres are available and for each size,
the radiation received is proportional to the time the machine is switched
on and left in situ. The precise dose rate depends on the diameter of the
applicator and the energy of the beam, both of which may be varied to
optimise the radiation treatment.
The radiation is quickly absorbed within
the tissues, which reduces the damage to surrounding normal tissues and
minimises the need for radiation protection to the operating personnel.
the technique is successful it could completely remove the need for
radiotherapy after breast cancer surgery, thereby cutting the workload of
The thesis is available at:
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