Polish scientists have created a revolutionary device for intraoperative radiation therapy. With the precision of a skilled surgeon it destroys malignant cells without doing any harm to the tissues around them.Cancer is the second most common cause of death in developed countries after cardiovascular diseases. The most modern methods of fighting it are radiation treatments in the final phase of surgery. The idea is to effectively destroy the remnants of malignant tumor cells that remain in the patient’s body after removal of the tumor by the surgeon.
This is exactly what IntraLine does. It is an innovative intraoperative radiotherapy device developed by engineers from the National Centre for Nuclear Research (NCBJ) in Świerk near Warsaw (it is the only nuclear reactor in Poland). In cooperation with doctors from the Wielkopolska Centre of Oncology (WCO) in Poznań, they have created an innovative method of cancer treatment that can be applied to all solid tumors.
IORT (Intraoperative Radiation Therapy) brings high dose radiation capability into the operating room, where it delivers a large single fraction dose of electron radiation directly to a surgically exposed tumor or tumor bed, when normal tissue and organs are removed from the field. By allowing the treated area to receive a higher dose of radiation, IORT may increase local control of cancer. IORT is also a shorter and less harmful treatment procedure then external radiotherapy, which is administered to patients in multiple fractions after a few months of adjuvant chemotherapy – we can read in the NCBJ description.
This procedure allows for shortening the entire cancer treatment by several weeks, improve its effectiveness, and avoid complete mastectomy in cases of breast cancer.
A specially constructed highly-mobile electron accelerator for IORT is now under development at NCBJ. This mobile accelerator is being designed for use in an unshielded operating room, in a way that will be safe and comfortable for doctors and for patients. The leaders of the research and development team are Eugeniusz Pławski PhD, Anna Wysocka-Rabin PhD and Konrad Kosiński.