Archive for the ‘Proton Accelerator’ Tag

How a Proton Accelerator Can Help Fight Cancer   Leave a comment

I don’t even really know what a proton accelerator is, but a doctor in St. Louis does, and he’s hoping to use one to get rid of tumors.

With traditional therapies like X-ray, a patient’s healthy tissues are often hit by radiation. This machine is so precise that doctors can hit tumors with higher doses–without damaging surrounding organs.

“For a tumor that’s near the eye, you don’t want to spray it with excess radiation,” said Dr. Bradley.

Until now, proton beam facilities in the United States would cost more than 150 million dollars and require the space of a football field. This machine cost 75 percent less and fits into a single room. While it could cost up to 20 percent more than traditional treatments, for some patients it could be worth it.

It sounds amazing, but I especially like the talk of how much smaller this one is than previous versions, when it still weighs 50 tons and takes up an entire room. It sounds so much like stuff you see about what people in the 1970s and 1980s were saying about computers that seem gargantuan to us compared to our smart phones.