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Medicine Science

X-rays For Stargazing Turn Into Cancer Treatment 59

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the as-above-so-below dept.
derGoldstein writes "Discovery posted an interesting story of how X-rays that are used by astronomers for determining the various chemical abundances inside stars could also potentially be used for more effective radiation therapy: 'Radiation treatment is a coarse instrument at best, since it destroys surrounding healthy cells as well as cancerous tumors. Much research is underway for targeted methods to reduce the collateral damage and attack just the cancer cells, including embedding nanoparticles inside tumors ... Nahar and Pradham envision a prototype device capable of generating x-rays (gzipped PDF) at the key frequencies to trigger a flood of low-energy electrons in platinum and gold, based on their computer simulations. Gold or platinum nanoparticles would amass naturally in cancerous tumors in the body, and could then be zapped with the focused x-ray beam.'"
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X-rays For Stargazing Turn Into Cancer Treatment

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  • Re:Yeah but... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jandoedel (1149947) on Tuesday July 26, 2011 @03:40PM (#36888102)

    The purpose is to surround the metals with a small layer of plasma. This plasma is what kills the cancer cells.

    This plasma will only occur where
    a) there is gold/platinum
    b) where they focus the X-rays. Focusing the X-rays is done just like your gamma knife: multiple beams from different directions, converging on the tumor.
    Since liver and kidneys are not radiated, you get no plasma there...

    So it's more precise than only using converging beams of X-rays.

  • by nedlohs (1335013) on Tuesday July 26, 2011 @03:56PM (#36888218)

    Cancer treatment already isn't cheap. The small amount of gold an platinum this would require will be swamped by the rounding error on the bill.

If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts. -- Albert Einstein

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