February 4, 2023
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Study on Flash technology could change how radiation treatment is delivered to patients

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Across the globe, 26 medical and scientific centers are researching the future of cancer radiation treatment. Three are in Nebraska. “We’re killing cancer cells and yet sparing normal cells right next to it,” Dr. Charles Enke said. Enke works in the radiation oncology department at UNMC. Right now, they are studying what’s called Flash radiation and its impact on healthy tissue. “The fact that you’re taking something that we did in 40 treatments in eight weeks to something that is done in under two seconds means that that’s a quantum shift in how we’re delivering radiation,” Enke said. He’s working beyond the scope of his lab to connect with Dr. Mohammed Zahra at Faith Regional Carson’s Cancer Center in Norfolk, Nebraska. “The use of this technology, we think, that will change the treatment time to actually measure in minutes to be measured in milliseconds,” Zahra said. This means it’s less invasive for healthy tissue surrounding the cancerous ones. “But we could not have done it without access to a linear accelerator,” Enke said. The machine at Carson’s Cancer Center is used to deliver radiation, but this one is modified for Flash. Varian, a medical device company, installed technology that allowed for electron Flash radiation research to occur for the first time outside of its own facility. “We’re not talking about even 20 radiation treatments we’re talking about doing this somewhere in between one and three,” Enke said. He said the research is so new that widespread clinical trials likely won’t start for another five to 10 years.”This is really kind of in the infancy, but you’re kind of at the cutting edge of what is going to be a really exciting area of radiation oncology research,” Enke said.

Across the globe, 26 medical and scientific centers are researching the future of cancer radiation treatment. Three are in Nebraska.

“We’re killing cancer cells and yet sparing normal cells right next to it,” Dr. Charles Enke said.

Enke works in the radiation oncology department at UNMC. Right now, they are studying what’s called Flash radiation and its impact on healthy tissue.

“The fact that you’re taking something that we did in 40 treatments in eight weeks to something that is done in under two seconds means that that’s a quantum shift in how we’re delivering radiation,” Enke said.

He’s working beyond the scope of his lab to connect with Dr. Mohammed Zahra at Faith Regional Carson’s Cancer Center in Norfolk, Nebraska.

“The use of this technology, we think, that will change the treatment time to actually measure in minutes to be measured in milliseconds,” Zahra said.

This means it’s less invasive for healthy tissue surrounding the cancerous ones.

“But we could not have done it without access to a linear accelerator,” Enke said.

The machine at Carson’s Cancer Center is used to deliver radiation, but this one is modified for Flash. Varian, a medical device company, installed technology that allowed for electron Flash radiation research to occur for the first time outside of its own facility.

“We’re not talking about even 20 radiation treatments we’re talking about doing this somewhere in between one and three,” Enke said.

He said the research is so new that widespread clinical trials likely won’t start for another five to 10 years.

“This is really kind of in the infancy, but you’re kind of at the cutting edge of what is going to be a really exciting area of radiation oncology research,” Enke said.



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