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Scientists to develop new radiotherapy device

A novel device which can reduce the risk of mis-treatments for cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy is being developed by scientists at the University of Bristol, Swansea University, and Bristol Haematology and Oncology Centre.

The device will be able to detect changes to the radiation beam and immediately identify inaccurate treatments, allowing errors to be corrected before the patient suffers any adverse consequences.

The device will be based on very thin silicon camera systems which will not interfere with the radiation beam, and will provide the radiographer with an instantaneous real time image of the beam as it is delivered.

The National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) has provided funding for this project for the development a fully functional prototype which will run for 17 months.

Radiation therapy uses various components which vary the radiation intensity to accurately target the tumour and reduce damage to the surrounding tissue.

Changes to radiation beam, however, cannot be detected, and if fault occurs, it may not be immediately detected which can result in mistreatment.