Jul 19, 2014, 5:49 PM
News Code: 2721752
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Iranians improve efficiency of radiotherapy

Tehran, July 19, IRNA -- Tarbiat Modarres University researchers have produced gold nanoparticles to reduce the side effects of radiotherapy and improve efficiency of the treatment in patients suffering from cancer.

The researchers included Bijan Hashemi-Malayeri, a faculty member of the university, and Karim Khoshgard, the university's medical physics graduate.

The nanoparticles operate as a radiosensitizer to enhance the efficiency of radiotherapy by 60 percent by increasing the dose absorbed in tumor cells where they can accumulate.

A radiosensitizer is a drug that makes tumor cells more sensitive to radiation therapy.

Gold nanoparticles with an average diameter of 52 nm were synthesized and conjugated to folic acid molecules.

Folate-conjugated gold nanoparticles can significantly enhance the cell killing potential of orthovoltage X-ray energies in cancer cells in radiotherapy techniques.

Orthovoltage X-rays are produced by X-ray generators operating at voltages in the 200–500 kV range, and therefore energy in the 200–500 keV range. When used to treat patients, radiation oncologists find that they penetrate to a useful depth of about 4–6 cm.

That makes them good for treating skin, superficial tissues, and ribs, but not for deeper structures such as lungs or pelvic organs.