The human population is exposed to both natural and artificial sources of radiation, which can cause cancer and other defects. Strangely, the same radiation that causes such effects is used for the treatment of cancer, referred to as radiotherapy. It is however very difficult to assess if the precise dose of radiation is being delivered.
New sensor systems have now been developed that can assess the effectives of the radiation treatment to improve the accuracy and reliability. The system called as Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT) has been developed for real-time radiation monitoring.
The setup sends the external beam radiation from different angles to different regions of the tumor. A collimator modulates and shapes the beams so that the tumour receives a uniform dose. It improves clinical outcomes by more accurately targeting tumors and minimizing the amount of radiation absorbed by healthy tissue.
INVORAD developed two sensors that can perform the task in a simple way. The small size of the sensor, the response to different forms of radiation used in radiotherapy and compatibility of the device with microprocessors offer a superior advantage. The device is based on the working principle of semiconductor material that senses the incoming radiation and transmits it to a display unit.
INVORAD also developed a cylindrical 'body phantom'. The 'phantom' is given the prescribed dose and the sensors pick up the dose actually delivered. If the 'phantom' treatment matches the prescription of the simulator, the patient is given treatment. If not, the treatment plan needs to be corrected.
The two devices are being tested in patients undergoing radiotherapy treatment. If successful, there would soon be commercialization of the sensor system. This is hoped to reduce the side effects patients associated with radiotherapy by improving accuracy of dose delivery, which has a significant impact in cancer treatment.