From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Proton Therapy
Mains level : Proton Therapy and its edge over other traditional radiaton therapy
- As informed by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), it is aware of advances in proton therapy, a new advanced type of Radiation therapy.
- Proton therapy is a type of radiation therapy — a treatment that uses high-energy beams to treat tumors.
- Radiation therapy using X-rays has long been used to treat cancers and noncancerous (benign) tumors.
- It uses protons rather than x-rays to treat cancer. At high energy, protons can destroy cancer cells.
- It can also be combined with x-ray radiation therapy, surgery, chemotherapy, and/or immunotherapy.
- Like x-ray radiation, proton therapy is a type of external-beam radiation therapy.
How it works?
- Fundamentally, all tissue cells are made up of molecules with atoms as their building blocks.
- In the center of every atom is the nucleus. Orbiting the nucleus of the atom are negatively charged electrons.
- When energized protons pass near orbiting electrons, the positive charge of the protons attracts the negatively charged electrons, pulling them out of their orbits. This is called ionization.
- It changes the characteristics of the atom and consequentially the character of the molecule within which the atom resides.
- Because of ionization, the radiation damages molecules within the cells, especially the DNA.
- Damaging the DNA destroys specific cell functions, particularly the ability to divide or proliferate.
- While both normal and cancerous cells go through this repair process, a cancer cell’s ability to repair molecular injury is frequently inferior.
- As a result, cancer cells sustain more permanent damage and subsequent cell death than occurs in the normal cell population.
Why in news?
- It is the most technologically advanced method to delivery radiation treatments to cancerous tumors available today.
- The unique characteristics of how protons interact within the human body in fewer complications and side effects than standard radiation therapy.