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Pate, Brad (ed.) / Wisconsin engineer
Volume 110, Number 3 (April 2006)

Hersch, A.; Kamenski, P.
Direct from the source: minimizing the negative effects of cancer treatment,   pp. 16-17 PDF (906.7 KB)

Page 17

to the current two-day schedule--one for a
pre-scan and one for the actual operation.
"[This procedure will] get the proper dose into
the prostate very precisely while keeping the
dose lower to the surrounding tissues,"
Thomadsen says. Using robotics in collabora-
tion with the computer optimization program
will, in turn, reduce the occurrence of compli-
cations and lead to more effective treatment.
If these inventions are employed, a typical
procedure would run as follows: After an
ultrasound is taken of the prostate, the physi-
cian runs the optimization software and trans-
fers the information from the computer to the
robot. The robot then implants the sources,
either the regular or new shielded type. The
4                           E" entire procedure will take about two hours,
7  including only a mere 20 minutes of implan-
', tation time.
This technique eventually could be used to
combat cancers of other areas of the body. For
example, by using shielded sources in the
2 treatment of breast cancer, doctors can direct
the radiation with more precision, delivering
a lesser dose to the skin and lungs. The com-
:  plexity of the head and neck make this proce-
Professor Bruce Thomadsen holds up          dure very attractive for treating cancers in
radioactive sources for treating prostate  those areas as well.
"The [directional] sources are good to better
define where you're giving the dose and
where you are not," Thomadsen says.
This faster and more precise way of treating
prostate cancer may be available sooner than
you think. Currently, the team is working on
devising a way to anchor the directional
sources so they do not rotate after implanta-
tion. Nevertheless, if things go as planned,
animal tests will begin within the next year.
With no other major delays, Thomadsen says,
"in two years we will be ready to start some
clinical trials with patients."
Thomadsen and Henderson's new three-com-
ponent approach has the potential to enhance
the effectiveness and accuracy of prostate can-
cer treatment. And - though the ideas were all
their own -they have, in a sense, mastered the
art of hiding their sources.
Author Bios:
Paul Kamenski is a sophomore majoring in
materials science and engineering, in which
he plans to pursue a doctorate after gradua-
Alauna Hersch is a junior majoring in biology.
She plans on attending medical school after
completing her undergraduate degree.
With data about the
cancer's coordinates in
the prostate, doctors
can program the robot
to insert the radioactive
sources precisely into
the tumor.
APRIL 2006   17

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