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New Technique May Be More Than 100x More Precise Than Existing Technology

Dr. Anschel

STONY BROOK, NY, June 14, 2006 Ė Together with an international team, researchers from Stony Brook University and Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) have developed a new radiosurgical technique at BNL which may be up to 100 times more precise than the best devices currently available. The research results will be published in the June 20 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The new technique has been termed microradiosurgery and utilizes arrays of parallel x-rays which intersect precisely in the region to be damaged. Each x-ray beam is less than 1mm wide and the method allows the destruction of areas less than 1/10th of a millimeter away from healthy tissue.

"This level of precision is extremely important when working deep within the brain where critical structures are tightly packed within a confined area" according to Dr. David Anschel, Assistant Professor of Neurology at Stony Brook University and one of the investigators.

Radiation therapy has been used for over 100 years. Within the last two to three decades more advanced equipment and high powered computers have allowed scientists to develop the technique of radiosurgery. The basic principle of radiosurgery is that very high doses of radiation may be delivered to a small target deep within the body while healthy tissue outside of the target is exposed to levels of radiation considered safe. Thus abnormal tissues in close proximity to those vital to normal function may be selectively destroyed. The name of the method derives from the fact that it is analogous to a surgeon removing harmful tissues. However, the great advantage of radiosurgery is that it is entirely bloodless and avoids the major risks associated with traditional surgery.

Among the key results detailed in the recent publication was the teamís ability to target a 3.4 x 3.4 x 3.4mm area within the rat brain. The rats were studied using a specialized MRI technique under the direction of Stony Brook Anesthesiologist, Dr. Helene Benveniste.

The research was performed at Brookhaven National Laboratory, where Drs. Anschel and Benveniste hold joint appointments. Dr. Pantaleo Romanelli, an adjunct member of the Stony Brook University Department of Neurology and neurosurgeon affiliated with the University of Rome (La Sapienza) was co-investigator. The lead author of the paper was Dr. Avraham Dilmanian, a medical physicist at Brookhaven National Laboratory who has been at the forefront of x-ray microbeam research since its inception in the early 1990ís.

The PNAS paper is available online at: http://www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.0603567103


Editorís Note: Scientific images related to this technology are available upon request.

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