Novel application of physics is the key to safely treating aggressive solid cancers
Alpha is an extremely powerful form of radiation that has been the “Holy Grail” of cancer therapy for decades. However, safely deploying alpha radiation against cancer in a controllable manner has been extremely challenging. Althera Medical has developed the first implantable device that uses alpha radiation to destroy tumors.
Alpha particles cause double-stranded DNA breaks, killing cancer cells. This means that alpha particles can treat cancers that other types of radiation can not, including hypoxic and radio-resistant tumors.
Alpha particles carry a large amount of energy, but do not travel far in the body. This is advantageous in helping to prevent damage to healthy tissue, but it also means that a novel technique must be devised to treat solid tumors with alpha radiation.
Althera Medical has developed ground breaking new technology that is the foundation of a revolutionary cancer therapy called DaRTTM, which stands for Diffusing a-emitters Radiation Therapy. DaRTTM leverages the unique physics of 224Radium to deliver a large amount of alpha radiation directly to a solid tumor very quickly, using a very small amount of implanted radioactive material, making DaRTTM very effective against aggressive cancers while remaining safe for patients and physicians.
DaRTTM takes advantage of a tumor’s unique physiology to destroy it
One of the key reasons that DaRTTM is both safe and effective is its ability to take advantage of the differences between tumors and healthy tissue, turning a tumor’s physiology against itself. Unlike healthy tissue with regular networks of well formed blood vessels, tumors develop a chaotic vascular structure with blood vessels that are “leaky”. The leaky nature of the tumor blood vessels provides a medium for diffusion helping DaRTTM treat a large volume of tumor and the chaotic vascular networks help keep the radiation localized within the tumor.