New radioactive way to treat cancerous tumors

When it comes to treating cancer, typically, patients are subjected to surgery and a round of chemotherapy and/or radiation that is designed to kill the cancer cells in the body.  Now, scientists in Tel Aviv have discovered a new way to treat tumors, from the inside out.

The new discovery
Researchers developed a radioactive wire, which is about the width of a pin.  This small piece of metal is inserted directly into the tumor and releases radiation that kills the tumor from the inside out.  Researchers believe this new method may offer more advantages than surgically removing a tumor.

“Not only are cancerous cells more reliably destroyed, but in the majority of cases the body develops immunity against the return of the tumor, a rare happening when the tumor is removed surgically,” a press release from Tel Aviv University explained.

The tests, done with mice, have shown success with several kinds of cancer located in the pancreas, colon, breast and brain.  While about 90 percent of the mice that had tumors surgical removed redeveloped cancer, just 50 percent of mice that had the wire treatment redeveloped cancer.

“It’s like a cluster bomb — instead of detonating at one point, the atoms continuously disperse and emit alpha particles at increasing distances.”

The process takes approximately ten days, leaving only non-radioactive and non-toxic amounts of lead. The wire itself, which is initially inserted into the tumor by hypodermic needle, decays harmlessly in the body.

What’s next?
The treatment, called Dart, is now in clinical trials in Israel and in New York City, and is one of several tests being conducted on how to administer cancer fighting drugs.  According to Prof. Keisari, “This is just the beginning of an emerging field of cancer treatment. I hope to see researchers from all over the world come together to create a comprehensive view of the advances of Dart and the stimulation of anti-tumor immunity.”

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