Tiny radiation beams tackle radioresistant melanoma

Source: Physics World, November 2019

Microbeam radiation therapy (MRT) uses synchrotron X-ray beams to deliver spatially fractionated radiation, with extremely high peak doses deposited in the microbeam path and tissue located between the microbeams receiving only a small fraction of this dose. MRT has proved highly effective in treating various tumours in small animals, while selectively sparing normal tissues. However, the mechanisms underlying the therapeutic efficiency of MRT are not well understood.

To shed light on these processes, a research team headed up at the University of Bern has evaluated the anti-tumour efficacy of MRT on a radioresistant melanoma, in comparison with the effects of uniform irradiation (Int. J. Radiat. Oncol. Biol. Phys. 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2019.08.027).

Malignant melanoma is one of the most aggressive cancers and is often radioresistant. “Although the main treatment for melanoma is surgery, in some cases resection is impossible due to the location of the tumour,” explains first author Marine Potez. “We wanted to find an alternative treatment for these tumours.”

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