Health: Targeted radiological doses for more effective cancer treatments


ENEA, jointly with the Regina Elena National Cancer Institute and the San Gallicano Dermatology Institute of Rome, has developed a prototype for real-time and more accurate measurement of the radiation dose released and absorbed by the patient during cancer treatment. The project RI.GUI.DO, funded by the Foundation Terzo Pilastro, aims at more effective radiotherapy thanks to a better control of the radiation doses to increase the patients' quality of life while reducing the costs for the National Health Service.0

"Every year in Italy there are 370 thousand new cases of cancer. If we consider that radiotherapy treatment is indicated in at least 50% of cancer patients, we can estimate that in our country there are over 180 thousand patients who could benefit from our new tchnology," Marco Battaglia, ENEA researcher at the Laboratory of Materials and Chemical-Physical Processes and project manager, explained.

(Dose measurement MOSFET)

Currently the measurement of the actual irradiation dose received by the patient takes place only at the end of the therapy through special sensors. "The current devices can’t detect errors due to the energy instability of the device or sudden movements of the patient during treatment.

Our prototype, expected to be ready at the end of the year, with the start of clinical trial, will work in synergy with other control systems, monitoring the patient's position and breath to provide, in real time and much more accurately, the measurement of the dose released to the patient during irradiation. This is a fundamental measure, given that the dose varies according to the type of tumor and the combination with other therapies such as chemotherapy," Battaglia explained.

In our country the situation of radiotherapy has positive and negative aspects: with 165 structures scattered throughout the national territory we are at the top of the European ranking, second only to France (176). But much remains to be done if we consider the data regarding equipment: with just over two machines per radiotherapy center, Italy ranks in the last places in Europe and outside the top-ten EU countries by number of machines per inhabitants (5.7 per million inhabitants).


For more information please contact:

Marco Battaglia, ENEA – Laboratory of Materials and Chemical-Physical Processes

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