This is a guest post by Nature Middle East writer Hebah Salama.
Cancers infect different tissues, and so they manifest differently, in various types, and require different treatments or sometimes a combination of treatments. Throw in variability among patients as a factor, and it’s even more complicated. It’s the reason why numerous studies are carried out every year to try and gauge the most effective therapy for different cancer types.
Now, researchers from Sudan and Lebanon specializing in medical physics and biochemistry have collaborated together on one such study. Their research deals with cancer cases in children, specifically analyzing the effect of different single radiation doses of X-rays on Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) – a malignant tumor involving skeletal muscle tissue.
Radiation, one of the most commonly used methods of cancer treatment, is known to cause damage in both healthy and cancerous tissue. It’s what sparked the known risk-benefit-ratio debate on whether the benefits from radiation therapy outweigh the harms. Scientists often discuss the different methods in which radiation can be used while keeping its side-effects to a minimum. As well, new technologies that provide high accuracy in dose delivery have been invented for this purpose; sparing healthy cells.
In this study, the scientists treated cultured RMS cells in vitro (outside of the human body) with therapeutic X-rays. The cells have shown to be resistant to radiation. Additionally, and depending on the radiation dosages, many of the treated cells have repaired from the X-rays’ radiation damage.
The scientists use this study to demonstrate that efforts put into studying tumors’ and healthy tissues’ biological responses to radiation based on tumor type should be stepped up. The more accurate the data provided about these types of responses, the better the outcome of patient treatment is.
“The advancement in technology should be met with more scientific research,” says Alexander Fadul lead researcher.
He adds that more patient oriented studies are certainly needed to determine the different parameters of radiation.