Researchers of ETU "LETI" are preparing to test a unique device for cancer treatment
A team of developers taking part in the project includes Nikolai Potrahov, Head of the Department of Electronic Instruments and Devices of ETU, Viktor Bessonov, Associate Professor of the Department of Electronic Instruments and Devices, young researchers, and senior students. This is a new kind of X-ray equipment. Today, there are no counterparts to it either in Russia or abroad. Currently, oncological diseases are treated by exposing cancerous tumors to external sources of ionizing radiation located far from the patient. This makes it more complicated for surgeons to treat the nidus of the disease.
With the help of a new device, doctors can expose tumors directly. The compact X-ray tube will be delivered to the target through a small incision on the patient’s body. The surgeon will be able to combine the removal of a malignant tumor with exposing the surrounding tissue to soft radiation. The uniqueness of the equipment lies in the fact that it will allow doctors not to lose precious time after the operation, and will not allow potential tumor cells to gain a foothold on healthy tissues and become points of metastasis growth.
A team of like-minded people working on creating an X-ray source for intraoperative radiotherapy consists of the participants of the consortium. These are Petersburg researchers, physicians, and industrialists: St. Petersburg Electrotechnical University "LETI," Sokolov Clinical Hospital No. 122, and Svetlana-Rentgen company. The financial partner of the project is the Euro Venture fund.
The project participant reached an agreement to pool the available resources to create the technology of intraoperative cancer therapy in April last year. On May 15, an agreement of intent was signed, providing for the joint development of a mass radiotherapy device. The implementation of the first stage of this agreement was entrusted to the St. Petersburg Electrotechnical University "LETI" and Svetlana-Rentgen company. The result of the joint research work was not long in coming. The specialists of Svetlana-Rentgen company developed an original and unparalleled X-ray tube, and the staff of the Department of Electronic Instruments and Devices of ETU together with the specialists of the ELTECH-Med small company assembled a specialized X-ray source based on this tube and a stand-alone device.
The current layout of the X-ray source was revealed in late 2018.
“Now scientists are to determine the dose absorbed by the tissues of the surgical field depending on the operating modes of the X-ray source. The energy of ionizing radiation quanta used in the intraoperative cancer therapy technology (in this case, X-ray) is several orders of magnitude lower than in traditional methods of external beam radiation therapy. Accordingly, these calculations are essential and therefore specialists of the Sokolov Clinical Hospital No. 122 will join in solving this problem. According to the results, the design of the X-ray source will be adjusted. The X-ray unit for intraoperative cancer therapy will be arranged with the help of Russian technical designers.”
Nikolay Potrakhov, Head of the Department of Electronic Instruments and Devices of ETU
Researchers hope that after the successful completion of all the necessary tests, mass production of new equipment will be launched. After all, the main task of the unique device is to preserve the health of people and prolong their life.