CTRC team improves radiation therapy

A group of researchers led by Andrew Brenner, M.D., Ph.D., neuro-oncologist at The Cancer Therapy & Research Center (CTRC) at the UT Health Science Center San Antonio, have developed a way to deliver nanoparticle radiation directly to brain tumors with 20 to 30 times the current dose of radiation therapy to patients while sparing a considerably large area of brain tissue.

brain_tumor The radiation comes in the form of an isotope called rhenium-186, which has a short half-life. Once placed inside the tumor, the rhenium emits radiation that only extends out a few millimeters. Simply putting the rhenium into a brain tumor would not work well without a way to keep it there — the tiny particles would be picked up by the bloodstream and carried away.

That problem was solved by a team led by nuclear medicine physician William T. Phillips, M.D., and biochemist Beth A. Goins, Ph.D., in the Department of Radiology; and Ande Bao, Ph.D., a medical physicist and pharmaceutical chemist in the Department of Otolaryngology. They encapsulated the rhenium in miniscule fat molecules, or liposomes, about 100 nanometers across. The study was published in the journal Neuro-Oncology, and researchers expect to begin clinical trials at the CTRC this fall.

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