Heavy ions can help eliminate tumour cells

August 11th, 2008 - 2:58 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Aug 11 (IANS) Hadrontherapy, or the use of fast ions, enables destruction of tumours more effectively than conventional radiation treatments, according to a new study. Researchers combined for the first time ionic radiation with platinum-enriched cells, using agents such as cis-platinum, similar to molecules used in medicine.

The impact of the incident ions (protons, carbon) and the electrons ejected along the way causes the platinum atoms to become highly ionised. The process of electron capture and emission that ensues inflicts greater damage on surrounding molecules and considerably enhances tumour cell death rate.

In the presence of platinum, the effectiveness of these ions increases by at least 50 percent, thus improving the way the tumour can be targeted.

These results suggest that the combination of hadrontherapy and the addition of heavy platinum atoms can improve both tumour targeting and the effectiveness of cancer treatments while preserving healthy tissue.

This work paves the way for research on new, non-toxic radio-sensitising agents - molecules, nanoparticles, and lysosomes - containing large numbers of atoms.

In practice, there are very few medical centres in the world specialising in hadrontherapy because this new technique is still very expensive.

Researchers and clinicians at the Heavy Ion Medical Accelerator (HIMAC) in Chiba, Japan, were the first to demonstrate the effectiveness of carbon ions in therapeutic treatments.

In France, proton therapy at the Centre de protonthérapie at the Institut Curie (Orsay) already makes it possible to treat certain cases of cancer that cannot be cured by conventional methods.

Another technology is currently being developed that uses carbon ions, and although more expensive, this technique is also more effective in certain cases.

In 2012, a treatment centre using carbon therapy will be opened in Lyon (”Projet étoile”), which will improve cancer treatment.

Researchers from the Laboratoire des collisions atomiques et moléculaires (CNRS/Université Paris) and the Laboratoire Génotoxicologie et cycle cellulaire (CNRS/Institut Curie) were involved in the project.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in Health Science |