Narrow beam instrument has
greater accuracy to study tumors

Scanner to Help Cancer Treatment

July 03, 2006
by Michael Johns, Project Manager
As reported on the on Monday, 3 July 2006.

The £1.2m ion beam instrument will send atomic particles through cells at a much more accurate rate than traditional scanners.

Scattering of the proton particles from the target will reveal how tumours are likely to respond to treatment.

The machine is due to be operating by June of next year.

More sensitive
While lesser resolution beams focus to a dot about a millimetre across, the Surrey instrument will be capable of narrowing its beam to a spot about 10 nanometres wide - a nanometre is one millionth of a millimetre.

To prevent the scanner from vibration, it will be mounted on three pillars formed from 30cm-wide metal cylinders filled with sand, and housed within a tower with 13m-deep foundations.

Scientists at the university, based in Guildford, are working with the Gray Cancer Institute in London to study how tumour cells respond to radiation.

The data gathered will help researchers find out why some cancer cells are more sensitive to radiation than others, and whether treatment with certain drugs could make them more responsive.