Tumor imaging plays an essential role in the design and delivery of radiotherapy. Roughly 40% of cancer cures are achieved via radiotherapy, either alone or together with chemotherapy or surgery. Radiotherapy is also highly effective for palliation and for symptom control in patients with advanced stage or recurrent cancer. However, radiotherapy also inflicts considerable hardship on the patient, not to mention on the immune system responsible for long-term cancer suppression. It is imaging developments over the past decade that have led to the development of advanced, more precise radiotherapy techniques capable of more comprehensively eliminating tumor cells while inflicting less harm on the patient.
Tumor imaging techniques incorporated into medical practice over the past decades include:
- High-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Advanced multi-modality diagnostic imaging with computed tomography (CT)
- 18-F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET)/CT imaging
Their incorporation have led to the development of such radiotherapy techniques as intensity-modulated radiotherapy, image-guided radiotherapy, stereotactic body radiotherapy, and proton beam therapy. The better the imaging, the more radiation doses can be delivered precisely to the tumor, while sparing their devastation from the surrounding non-cancerous tissue.
Indeed, imaging biomarkers capable of assessing underlying tumor heterogeneity have been shown to be capable of identifying subpopulations of tumor cells that are more likely to resist radiation, enabling targeting of enhanced radiation and other measures specifically at the areas where they are present.
Is your lab investigating the use of new biosensors to more precisely target metastatic tumors? Or are you a medical institution seeking the best possible imaging hardware for your patients? Either way, contact Merkel today to benefit from high quality, affordable options, and the technical expertise in putting them to optimal use.