FLASH-Radiotherapy – A Paradigm Shift in Treating Cancer

Conventional radiotherapy (RT) is severely limited by radiation-induced toxicities. If these could be reduced, a greater dose of radiation could be given, facilitating a better tumor response.

Ultra-fast delivery of radiation treatment (i.e. electrons, photons/x-rays, and protons) at dose rates several orders-of-magnitude greater than those currently used in clinical practice reduces radiation-induced toxicities. This allows normal tissue tolerance levels to be greatly exceeded, thereby increasing the therapeutic index over conventional radiation delivery.  This is known as the FLASH effect. 

In conventional external beam radiotherapy (EBRT) the patient is irradiated for 1-2 minutes, 5-days/wk, for 1-2 months.  In FLASH-RT, the patient would be irradiated in < 0.1 second for 1 to 4 days greatly reducing side-effects, normal tissue toxicity, and cost.

FLASH-RT recognition and excitement (2019-2020):

  • Special FLASH-RT workshops organized by NIH (National Cancer Institute) and DOE
  • Special FLASH-RT journal edition of Radiotherapy and Oncology, 139, October 2019  (ESTRO Journal)*
  • Special FLASH-RT sessions at recent ASTRO, ESTRO, RRS and AAPM Annual Meetings*

         *American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO), European Society for Radiation Oncology (ESTRO), Radiation Research Society (RRS), American Assoc. for Physicists in Medicine (AAPM).

The Problem – Standard dosimetry methods do not work at the radiation intensity of a FLASH delivery.  Specifically, there exists no reliable and clinically available online method for measuring dose in a FLASH radiation beam.

The Solution – An ultra-fast & transmissive (UFT) beam monitor (invented and patented by Integrated Sensors) that can continuously analyze the FLASH beam every 0.0001 second as the patient is irradiated.