Interstitial Brachytherapy: Targeted Radiation Therapy to Kill...

Interstitial Brachytherapy: Targeted Radiation Therapy to Kill Cancer Cells

Healthcare Tech Outlook | Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Three-dimensional ultrasound is a rapidly changing technology of imaging that has great potential for gynecology use. 3D ultrasound technology is a better choice for radiation oncologists to treat women with gynecological cancers, including vaginal, cervical, and uterine cancer.

The technology provides a 360-degree, three-dimensional perspective of surgical tools and tissue and organs by transforming a conventional ultrasound probe that is already found in most clinics. It gives a more precise and more accurate view for clinicians in the surgery room who need to exactly insert needles into the tumor for a process called interstitial brachytherapy, a type of aimed radiation therapy that utilizes intense energy to kill cancer cells in the tumor from within.

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The short-term aim is to reduce complication rates to make sure that the needles do not go into the bladder or rectum, which causes complications, and moreover, something we are hypothesizing is that when the needles are correctly placed, they will provide enhanced distribution of the dose pattern to the tumor and tissue. Clinicians would be using pre-operative imaging before introducing this technology to place the needles using' feel' while a patient is under anesthesia.  Afterward, once the patient is awake, they would check the needle placement with CT. This technology allows the operator with live feedback and real-time visualization of the needle placement and allows adjustment of needles while the patient is still asleep. Interstitial needles enable a radioactive source to enter the tumor tissue directly, resulting in a healthier dose of radiation, which is anticipated to translate into better chances of cancer eradication. The 360-degree 3D ultrasound is another tool to accurately guide the needle placement.

In some places around the world, access to high-end images such as MRI and CT to diagnose and treat diseases is difficult. Therefore, researchers focused on ultrasound, which is ubiquitous worldwide that can be used for a wide range of applications.

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