Previously, chemotherapy and radiation therapy, sometimes even the combination of both, were the go-tos when the question of treating cancer arises. The results would show in the long term- weeks, months- and there is always a chance that healthy cells perish due to the radiation. The good news is, there are other options put forth by the Abramson Cancer Center. The research published in the International Journal of Radiation and Oncology, Biology and Physics FLASH radiotherapy can be used to deliver the same levels of radiation that patients would ideally acquire over weeks. What makes FLASH Radiotherapy desirable is that it affects the cancer cells the same as radiation therapy and drugs but healthy tissue around the cancer cells is saved from collateral damage that commonly comes with radiation.
FLASH Therapy uses protons as it can penetrate into the body deeper than electrons. Electrons, for this reason, can be used in the treatment of skin cancer but for the medication of other tumors, protons are the way to go. The research was performed on mice with pancreatic flank tumors. It was found that the method blocked that buildup of cancer cells as effectively as regular radiation therapy while also receding the decline of healthy cells. It also did not cause side effects common in radiation therapy like intestinal fibrosis. The treatment will revolutionize cancer therapy once adequately administered.
Hospitals use linear accelerators that can be adapted modified to produce them. Enabling Proton FLASH Therapy in real-time cancer treatments is the next step in this division.