Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Can Brain Tumors Benefit From Particle Accelerators?

By Robert Sutter

Particle accelerators are the kinds of aspects that are more than worthy of note, if you would like to know. Particle physics seem to make the most out of this, as there have been a multitude of studies in this realm where this technology has been implemented. It seems like other fields can benefit from it, even the one in which brain tumors are greatly focused on. It may seem like a stretch but a recent study has shown that there are results to be spoken of.

According to an article published by Symmetry Magazine, brain tumors can be removed but oftentimes it cannot be done without damaging the surrounding tissue. What this can lead to is further damage down the road, which is something that may not have been worth going about if the results don't stand strong in the long term. Fortunately, a group of specialists from Fermilab seem to be focused on utilizing a unique method referred to as Boron Neuron Capture Therapy. Organizations like Voices against Brain Cancer should take note.

The article also spoke about how the key to BNCT could lie within the idea of particle technology. The way that BNCT works is that a patient is given a tumor-seeking compound that will work within their bloodstream. The compound, which contains non-radioactive boron, can then enter the membrane - moving through the blood-brain barrier in the process - in order to target the tumor. Not only does the drug make its way into the growth in question but it will rest within the tissue surrounding it as well.

What happens after this is that the patient is exposed to a beam of neurons, which is important to note. Keep in mind that boron is most effective at capturing neurons; the report accurately described it as a baseball mitt of sorts. Once a neuron is caught, the boron atom splits into two parts and this is where they will be able to deposit a lot of energy on a local basis. The level of energy seen here would be around the strength of a dose of radiation, targeting the tumor in the process.

Science is the name of the game when concerning this particular method. In fact, anyone who focuses on brain tumors has, at the very least, mild interest in the field of science and the same can be said about the procedures made in order to help matters. The fact that this procedure has been seen for decades around the world goes to show that there is potential to be had. It's just a matter of it being realized in order to help patients across the board.

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