Medtech firm TRUEinvivo has secured a patent for the latest version of its DOSEmapper technology, which provides accurate measurements of radiation inside a cancer patient’s body using strings of tiny glass beads, an approach set to transform radiotherapy treatments across a range of cancers.
Currently, radiation oncologists prescribe a level of radiation that balances the targeting of a tumour with the tolerance of surrounding healthy parts of the patient’s body. Radiation levels are monitored from outside of a patient’s body with a substantial margin for error of +/- 10 per cent.
TRUEinvivo’s technology uses strings of up to 300 glass beads, each 1mm thick and 1.7mm in diameter, which are inserted into the patient’s body around the area being targeted with radiation.
The glass beads have natural impurities that trap energy which confines the free electrons created when matter is ionised by radiation. TRUEinvivo heats the beads to around 350°C, releasing stored energy in the form of light, which is proportional to the absorbed radiation. The company measures this light to determine the amount of radiation being transmitted to an area of the body.
The technology enables oncologists to fine tune radiation doses by building highly accurate models of radiation exposure using hundreds of measurement points from inside the body. The technology reduces the error margin to less than +/- 5 per cent, substantially decreasing the risks of overexposure to radiation, which occurs during as many as a quarter of radiotherapy treatments.
TRUEinvivo was founded by Dr. Shakardokht Jafari, who is also CTO. Dr Jafari was inspired to transform cancer treatment after her own father passed away from cancer and, as a breast cancer survivor, is acutely aware of the impact of radiotherapy on patients’ quality of life.
TRUEinvivo has received more than £414,000 in funding from Innovate UK including a £170,000 grant from the Sustainable Innovation Fund, which the company used to commence pre-clinical testing, develop software to automate the detection of beads in patients’ CT scan images, and build a stringing machine to automate production of the threads of beads.
DOSEmappe technology is currently in use at Clatterbridge Hospital in North West England, with further hospital partnerships ongoing as part of pre-clinical trial work. TRUEinvivo’s ambitions are to expand its manufacturing process in the UK and grow its operations across Europe, as well as gain regulatory approval to expand into the US and Asia-Pacific region.
Dr Jafari says: “Radiotherapy is a vital treatment in the fight against cancer, but can prove a blunt tool with radiation levels hard to measure and accurately target. Our technology has the potential to transform radiation treatments by dramatically reducing unnecessary radiation exposure and increasing tumour control probability. We are excited to refine the technology further and increase adoption to improve welfare and health outcomes for patients undergoing cancer treatments.”
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