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New App Promises To Provide Tailored Radiation Treatment

– Contributed content –

26 August 2017. A recent study by Ehsan Samei and Donald Frush of Duke University Medical Center and Xiang Li of the Cleveland Clinic has revealed that our worries over radiation exposure may be over.

Medical advances in the last decades have seen a steady increase in the use of radiation-heavy therapies, such as preclinical molecular imaging. These treatments are used in a variety of cases, ranging from cancer to cardiovascular problems. They have become a staple for tackling serious illness, and save countless lives each year. And, the options for such treatments are changing all the time. Most recently, we’ve seen assay developments including contrast agents and platelet survival.

Medical X-ray

(Wikimedia Commons)

But, the path isn’t all plain sailing when it comes to radioactive treatments. The trouble, of course, is that exposure to radiation brings risks of its own. The main issue is that machines have yet to determine correct radiation amounts for each patient. This will only happen if the three-way dependency of quality, dose, and size is known. As yet, technology doesn’t provide this ability. But, thanks to the study mentioned above, all that could be coming to an end.

A new app, developed for use on Java-based Android tablets, finally offers the solution we’ve been waiting for. Using 3-D models of their patients, the app provides neurosurgeons with all the information they need for correct dosage. This is the first time such information has been so easily accessible.

Doctor with tablet

(Public Domain Pictures)

Christoph Hoeschen, associate editor of the Journal of Medical Imaging hailed the breakthrough as a “”really a big step forward in imaging brain tumors and other issues in young patients.”. As well as ensuring patient safety, the app provides the most accurate idea of the levels of treatment. While effects have yet to be seen, we can only assume this will lessen the negative implications of radiation exposure.

As the quote above suggests, young patients stand to benefit most from the app. And, as over 100,000 children under 15 die from cancer each year, this is an area we need to focus on. Especially given that the majority of cancers in younger patients are curable. While 90% of these deaths occur in underdeveloped nations, even American children fall foul to cancer.

For the most part, these high mortality rates are a result of a lack of development in treatments for young patients. Professor Kathy Pritchard-Jones from the Institute of Child Health said on the subject, “The experiences and needs of children with cancer and their families in all settings, whether a high-income or a developing country, need to be better understood.” And, if all goes to plan, that’s exactly what this new app promises.

During studies on this app, radiation dosages were assessed for organ doses, effective dose, and risk index. And, promisingly, these studies were carried out for nine different age-groups. The hope is that technology such as this will allow a more tailored treatment, improving recovery rates in children and young adults. A development, we’re sure you’ll agree, which is well overdue.

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