Damage Control

Damage Control

Nearly half of all people with cancer are treated with radiation therapy, either alone or in combination with other treatments. The goal of radiation therapy is to damage as many cancer cells as possible while limiting harm to nearby healthy tissue. Although radiation damages both cancer cells and normal cells, most normal cells can recover from the effects of radiation.

Did you know?

Cancer is the second most common cause of death in the U.S. In 2007 alone, an estimated 1,500 people will die from cancer each day.
Source: American Cancer Society

Professor Franklin Hadley Cocks, a materials scientist whose research spans the spectrum of biological and inorganic materials, has developed a flexible catheter capable of transmitting tightly focused therapeutic X-ray radiation to treat small tumors. The catheter may be especially useful for internal tumors of the brain and mouth, where minimizing damage to surrounding tissue during treatment is especially important.

This catheter uses an external X-ray source to send radiation through parallel, hollow fiberoptic lines. A precisely measurable dose of radiation emerges where the catheter interacts with tumor tissue,, and clinicians can accurately control the depth of tissue getting treatment. Cocks, Research Associate Neal Simmons and graduate student Paul A. Klenk received a patent for the catheter in 2007.