A non-invasive program staying formulated by EU-funded scientists could make radiotherapy a safer and additional-successful therapy for cancer individuals by producing a visible dosage map of the tumour and the surrounding healthy tissue.


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Radiotherapy working with x-rays is a widely applied and successful therapy for killing tumours, and 50 percent of all cancer individuals receive this therapy. Directing an x-ray beam at the tumour brings about DNA destruction and induces cell loss of life. Nevertheless, healthy tissue close by can also be weakened – in particular when individuals are improperly positioned, or there are inaccuracies in therapy supply.

Radiotherapy’s entire potential is staying restricted by the deficiency of a program able of providing visible feedback on the radiation dosage shipped.

The EU-funded AMPHORA undertaking is establishing non-invasive ultrasound technology that steps the sum of radiation shipped to the tumour and the healthy surrounding tissues. This solution, regarded as in-situ dosimetry, could assistance boost individual security all through therapy.

At the project’s outset, the AMPHORA workforce discovered prostate cancer – the next most typical cancer in gentlemen – as the most suitable concentrate on software. They have been doing the job with medical specialists to fully have an understanding of the worries linked with ultrasound imaging of the prostate and working with that insight to underpin the prototype system’s layout.

‘This technology will offer immediate feedback to radiotherapists about the quantity and location of radiation provided to the individual, which implies there is much less area for therapy mistake and a lessen possibility of detrimental healthy tissue,’ states undertaking coordinator Jan D’hooge of KU Leuven in Belgium. ‘The program aims to enhance the accuracy of radiation treatment, which will instantly effect on the quality of therapy skilled by the individual.’

Exclusive nano-droplet technology

AMPHORA’s most important perform targeted on establishing ultrasound contrast agents (UCAs) to properly feeling radiation dosages.

By mid-2019, AMPHORA scientists at Tor Vergata College had formulated UCAs that could be injected into the bloodstream in buy to access the tumour and surrounding tissues.

They not long ago demonstrated that these minute liquid droplets – just 50 percent of a thousandth of a millimetre across – evaporate on publicity to radiation to sort microscopic bubbles that light up in an ultrasound image. So, the quantity of bubbles observed in the ultrasound scan relates to the quantity of radiation shipped to the tissue. In this way, an exact ‘dose map’ is fashioned.

The ultrasound readout program is staying created to minimise the invasiveness of the technique and to prevent interference with the radiation beam all through therapy. Two bespoke ultrasound probes are staying created by undertaking associates at the Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering. These new probes will be able of 3D imaging and consequently dose mapping working with state-of-the-artwork instrumentation to cope with the higher info throughput.

From x-rays to proton beams

The program is nevertheless at a small-technology readiness amount, so it has nevertheless to be commercialised. Nevertheless, quite a few associates in the consortium are investigating opportunities to adapt it to other apps.

‘Alternative cancer treatments to radiotherapy, these kinds of as proton-beam treatment, can provide a greater focus of radiation, thus increasing the potential possibility to individuals thanks to imprecision in positional accuracy,’ states D’hooge. ‘We’re now also investigating the software of AMPHORA’s droplet technology to proton-beam treatment, which has been the concentrate of our next vital investigate output, demonstrating pretty beneficial outcomes.’