An significant focussed technique of radiation therapy promises a better result for people with Hodgkin's disease. These days a full cure is likely for most of those who develop Hodgkin's disease. But their recovery may be impaired by short and long-term complications of conventional radiation treatment.
The problem lies with radiation damaging healthy tissue, if applied in the usual way. But researchers at Stanford University have been developing a new type of radiotherapy for Hodgkin's disease called Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT). This is a relatively new type of external beam radiation, where the beam is conformed to the size, shape and location of the tumour. So more radiation goes to the cancer tissue and less to healthy tissue.
Working with three patients for which detailed tumour information was available, the researchers showed that IMRT would allow them to increase the dose of radiation to the tumour, and spare more healthy tissue from side effects. So IMRT seems to have great potential for improving the long-term outcome for survivors of Hodgkin's disease.