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NCI Cancer Center News

Duke researchers develop potential new technique for anticancer radiotherapy could provide alternative to brachytherapy

  • Posted: November 16, 2012

A promising new approach to treating solid tumors with radiation was highly efficacious and minimally toxic to healthy tissue in a mouse model of cancer, according to data published in Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research. Some patients with solid tumors, including prostate cancer, are treated using a clinical technique called brachytherapy. Brachytherapy involves the surgical implantation of radioactive "seeds" within a patient's tumor to expose the tumor cells to high levels of radiation while minimizing the negative side effects of radiation on the rest of the body. Researchers at Duke University (home to the Duke Cancer Institute) generated an injectable substance, called a polymer, attached to a source of radioactivity that spontaneously assembled into a radioactive seed after being injected into a tumor.

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NCI comprehensive cancer centers logoAmong the research institutions NCI funds across the United States, it currently designates 67 as Cancer Centers. Largely based in research universities, these facilities are home to many of the NCI-supported scientists who conduct a wide range of intense, laboratory research into cancer’s origins and development. The Cancer Centers Program also focuses on trans-disciplinary research, including population science and clinical research. The centers’ research results are often at the forefront of studies in the cancer field.