Precision X-Ray’s X-RAD small animal radiation therapy (SmART) system has been used by Dutch scientists to develop targeted treatment for brain tumours.

Scientists used the system to create a combination of in-vitro drug screening with a spheroid tumour model and in-vivo radiotherapy.

The research team injected live mice with glioma cells to induce the presence of a tumour in the brain, and used contrast-enhanced micro cone-beam CT (CBCT) scans to generate a treatment plan for the animals.

"The system’s design allows it to rotate 360 degrees around the subject, thus improving the total dose delivery to the targeted area."

After the in-vivo irradiation, the tumour growth was monitored using bioluminescent imaging, and the scientists found a significant decrease in the speed of tumour growth that reacted in a dose-dependent manner.

The resulting treatment planning system, SmART-Plan, is the only commercial small-animal planning software to use a Monte-Carlo engine.

Consisting of fixed circular, square and rectangular collimators that conform the dose to the tumour, the X-RAD SmART system delivers 225kV photon beams that are millimetres wide with sub-millimetre precision, and computes and offers highly accurate dose calculations.

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The micro CBCT works with a bioluminescent imager to help govern treatment, while monitoring the response from the tumour.

Precision X-Ray president Bill McLaughlin said: "X-Rad SmART is an advanced image guided radiation therapy (IGRT) system that allows researchers to capture images and properly treat a specimen without the strain of repositioning it.

"The system’s design allows it to rotate 360 degrees around the subject, thus improving the total dose delivery to the targeted area while limiting damage to surrounding structures."

Using the SmART system, scientists were able to generate effective methods of targeting the tumours, while sparing healthy tissue.

Giloblastoma Multiforme brain tumours currently have no cure and the median lifespan for patients following diagnosis is 15 months.

Image: The X-RAD Small Animal Radiation Therapy system supported the development of targeted treatment for brain tumours. Photo: courtesy of Precision X-Ray.