Radiotherapy clinical teams carefully calculate and pre-test radiation treatment for each cancer patient. For external beam therapy the calculated radiation beams are directed at the tumour from the best and safest angles. Great care is taken to minimise hitting the surrounding healthy tissue and especially the patient’s critical organs. But, despite all the care, between 10% and 25% of radiotherapy patients worldwide suffer serious side effects or treatment failure.
One problem is how to directly measure the actual radiation dose delivered into the patient’s body during radiotherapy. And that includes in brachytherapy when radiation sources are inserted into the patient. Today no one can see what the radiation hits or if it hits solely according to the specified patient treatment plan. No one knows the effects until the patient reports problems some weeks later.
TRUEinvivo bead array detectors are easily inserted via a catheter into a suitable natural orifice and measure the dose and spread of the radiation received at the site of the tumour. The clinical team can use this “radiation ruler” to check for accuracy against the plan immediately after the first patient session and, if necessary, adjust for the next dose. This test and correction for accuracy gives the clinical team real confidence that the correct dose has been given and in the correct places. More confidence can lead to less sessions.
The patient and clinicians still wait a few weeks to see if the cancer is cured but the wait is with the confident knowledge that the treatment was really accurate and that side effects and harm have been minimised.