An Israeli company named Alpha Tau Medical is breaking new ground in the destruction of cancerous tumors. Alpha Tau medical has developed a new technology called targeted radiotherapy. Targeted radiotherapy differs from regular radiotherapy. Regular radiotherapy has a long viability duration, which is not very favorable for the human body.
Targeted radiotherapy is a new approach to the use of radioactive energy to treat cancerous tumors. There’s a whole new set of production processes, methods of administration and outcome expectations.
If this process turns out to be what they say it is, then the world is about to encounter a massive revolution. Cancerous tumors are among the worst things anyone can ever face because the entire body undergoes long term strain in chemo and radiotherapy. This technique hopes to rule out these realities (for the most part)and replace them with easier procedures.
How does this technique work?
Alpha Tau Medical has named this technology, DaRT which stands for Diffusing Alpha-emitters Radiation Therapy, and it’s a highly-targeted use of radiation. The objective of this procedure is to make good use of the radiation of Alpha particles, a process that has never been used before on solid tumors.
Alpha particles are composite particles consisting of two protons and two neutrons tightly bound together. They are emitted from the nucleus of some radionuclides during a form of radioactive decay, called alpha-decay. They were thought to be unfit for the human body, but recently it was discovered that they might be used when targeting the tumor directly because they are short-lived and decay very quickly.
In simple terms, the process is one that involves the use of a needle to target the tumor directly. The radioactive substance is administered onto the tumor in the form of a diffusible seed, and the massive alpha particles are set to bombard the tumor.
The patient can be given local anesthesia, and a large hole or cut doesn’t have to be drilled. All that is required is a small space for the needle to go in.
According to a post made by CEO Uzi Sofer on www.alphatau.com, the company’s official website, the radioactive emitter is Radium-224. “In the process of decay, Radium-224 releases its short-lived Alpha-emitting atoms into the tumor.
By diffusion and convection, these atoms disperse in a therapeutically significant range of several millimeters, delivering a high dose of radiation into the tumor.”The seeds must be allowed to complete the diffusion for two weeks, and they can remain in there for that period of time because they’re not harmful to the surrounding tissues. Alpha particles are lethal to cancerous cells, but they don’t stay potent for a long time after emission.
This is why their administration has to be directly targeted for maximum efficiency. Sofer explained that this technique could be used in conjunction with other cancer treatments or exclusively on its own. It all depends on the doses of each treatment the doctors wish to administer, and the levels the patient’s condition requires.
Side effects and other concerns
As of the trial period, the company insisted that no severe side effects were noticed from the administration of this treatment. The short life span of Alpha particles makes it nearly impossible for the diffusion to spread beyond the secluded area and cause harm to other parts of the body. According to company spokesman Sara Jaehnert, any minor side effects that did occur, “were resolved within one to two months.”
The technology is still undergoing its introductory phase. Clinical trials were said to have begun in the year 2017, and a total of 6,000 animal test subjects have been used to monitor the process. Cancerous tumors in all stages were destroyed all over the body, and they’ve had a 70 percent success rate so far in their human and animal trials.
Alpha Tau Medical has spent a significant amount of time and resources on this technology, and it’s looking up positively for the most part. The process is one that is said to adapt quickly to each person’s unique body system. It will take some time to gain approvals in countries around the globe, but they can’t wait to share this technology in full force with the rest of the world.
- Jana J. Pruet. 2018, December 17. Israeli company claims it has created technology that can destroy cancerous cells. Retrieved from https://www.theblaze.com/news/new-procedure-kills-cancerour-tumors
- Alpha Tau Medical. Website: www.alphatau.com
- Australian Radio Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency. Arpansa. https://www.arpansa.gov.au/understanding-radiation/what-is-radiation/ionising-radiation/alpha-particles
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