Scientists in California recently unveiled a pioneering study designed to offer assistance for cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy treatment.
Researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have developed a new method to better assess the levels of radiation in a patient battling cancer — which can help health-care providers more accurately target the disease. Previously, patients would submit urine or fecal samples for radiation levels to be analyzed, or could also submit to biokinetic testing.
Now, LLNL scientists have developed a blood test to do the same.
The approach is known as biodosimetry and involves the comparison of the radiation dosage with selected strands of RNA found in the patient’s blood.
“Our data indicate that transcripts, which have been previously identified as biomarkers of external exposures in whole blood and radiotherapy patients, also are good early indicators of internal exposure,” Matt Coleman of the University of California told MedicalXpress.
Such information can help the medical team better understand how the radiotherapy is working, and how such therapies can be improved to better attack cancer cells and prevent recurrence.
Scientists are now working on a second phase of the trial focused on pediatric neuroblastoma.
Radiotherapy is one of the most common techniques used to provide assistance for cancer patients. It has been shown to be effective in eliminating cancer cells that have not metastasized, or spread, and it also is relied on after surgery and other methods to prevent cancer cells from re-forming.