Health Sector – UHC, National Health Policy, Family Planning, Health Insurance, etc.

[pib] Proton Therapy


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

  • 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.
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