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)
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. cancer. "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- tion. 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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