Radiation Therapy

Radiation Therapy Portfolios

Most Recent Inventions

Automated Radiation Treatment Planning to Improve Consistency

UW–Madison researchers have developed a method for generating high quality radiation treatment plans for every patient. In the new method, planning objectives are automatically determined based on patient data, e.g., target regions and organs at risk (OARs). So-called ‘physical objectives’ take into account the physical constraints and capabilities of the particular therapy system being used.

This approach is contrary to traditional planning schemes based on dose-volume histograms, which fail to convey the same spatial information attainable with the new method.

Real-Time 3-D Elastography

The researchers have now developed an enhancement to their technique that works especially well with a 2-D ultrasound array to provide real-time 3-D imaging. The improvement derives from a new reconstruction scheme that uses sparse data.

The new scheme imposes two key requirements – interpolation and smoothing. Essentially, raw ultrasonic echo data is acquired over many imaging planes. Then, an efficient algorithm tracks frame to frame displacement of the underlying tissue at each pixel in the imaging plane. Mechanical properties such as strain can be estimated by a calculation along the ultrasound scan line direction. The 3-D reconstruction algorithm rapidly reconstructs a complete 3-D visualization from a sparse collection of scattered data points.

Minimally Invasive Microwave Ablation Antennas

UW–Madison researchers have developed two minimally invasive, balun-free antenna designs that are small enough to treat cancers otherwise out of the reach of microwave ablation.

The first design can take any base-fed monopole, spiral or bent wire configuration. Alternatively, the antenna can use a structure more suitable for higher frequencies (five GHz to 30 GHz). This design uses cable shielding over a balanced two-wire transmission line. The design protects surrounding tissue and eliminates the need for baluns.

Rapid Three-Dimensional Elasticity Imaging

UW–Madison researchers have developed an ultrasonic probe assembly and a reconstruction technique for rapid three-dimensional elasticity imaging using limited data.

The probe sends an ultrasonic beam of energy into tissue and receives echoes from the displaced material generally along an axis. Ultrasound data is acquired over a set of planes (between four and six in number) angularly spaced and sharing a common axis. A computer receives the ultrasound data and determines elasticity of the material at multiple points within each plane. A three-dimensional reconstruction then is generated. This reconstruction is faster than the traditional sequential data acquisition for three-dimensional visualization.

Tailored Radiopharmaceutical Dosimetry for 4-D Treatment Planning System

UW-Madison researchers have developed a system for precisely tailoring the quantity and timing of the administration of a radiopharmaceutical to a particular patient. To generate time-activity curves, an imaging radioisotope is first administered and the subject is scanned using dynamic PET/CT imaging. From the acquired datasets, the critical organ, which displays toxicity at the lowest injection level, is determined. A fractionation scheme is then developed for tumor control and toxicity avoidance, and precise, patient-specific administration schedules are created based on the effect that varying dose rates have on the critical organs and tumors. This two-step technique can provide sufficient precision to allow the combination of radiopharmaceutical treatment with other radiation treatment such as external-beam radiotherapy.

Most Recent Patents

New Radiosurgery Collimator Salvages Scatter, Cuts Treatment Time

UW–Madison researchers have developed an SRS collimator assembly capable of refocusing scattered radiation that would otherwise be lost. The new design features concentric, conical slits oriented along different angles. Radiation striking the top surface of the collimator is redirected along each slit towards a common point, or isocenter.

The slits can be termed ‘Compton slits’ because they are designed to capture and redirect Compton scattered radiation.

Soft-Spectrum Filter for External Beam Radiation Therapy

UW–Madison researchers have developed a new soft-spectrum filter called SPECTER that uses beam-filtering material to block the unwanted soft portion of an FFF radiation beam. The high energy ‘hard spectrum’ of the beam can pass unfiltered through a central aperture.

The material and dimensions of the SPECTER may be optimized to control external radiation scatter and loss in high dose rates compared with other system employing FFF beams.

Compound to Protect Against Radiation Exposure

A UW–Madison researcher has developed a new family of aminothiol molecules that could prevent tumor formation or DNA damage due to radiation exposure. The well-studied prototype molecule is called PrC-210. It has been demonstrated to suppress CT scan X-ray-induced DNA damage in human blood cells to background. This would likely also suppress cancers resulting from diagnostic radiation to background. Importantly, the new drug lacks both of the severe side effects (nausea/emesis and hypotension/fainting) that preclude the use of amifostine.

The new molecules’ radioprotective properties arise from the combination of a reactive oxygen species (ROS)-scavenging thiol group and a positively charged alkyl-amine backbone that allows the molecule to “hover” around the negatively-charged DNA backbone in cells where the thiol can then capture ROS before they attack DNA.

A decade of research, multiple peer-reviewed publications, both issued and pending patent claims, and more than $2.5 million in research support has gone into PrC-210 development to date.