December 19, 2011, Updated September 11, 2012

Two Tel Aviv University researchers have developed a new method of destroying cancer tumors, which they say could be more permanent.

Based on “tumor ablation” a process through which the tumor is destroyed inside the body, Prof. Yona Keisari of TAU’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine and Prof. Itzhak Kelson of TAU’s Department of Physics and Astronomy, have developed a radioactive wire, the size of a pin, which, when inserted into a solid tumor, releases lethal radioactive atoms that irradiate the tumor from the inside out.

Today, even after tumors are surgically removed or treated with chemotherapy or radiation, they often come back. The Tel Aviv researchers say their novel cancer-fighting cluster bomb keeps the tumor at bay.

As it breaks down, the tumor releases antigens which trigger an immune response against the cancerous cells, Prof. Keisari explains. Not only are cancerous cells more reliably destroyed, but in the majority of cases the body develops immunity against the return of the tumor, a rare happening when the tumor is removed surgically.

Prof. Keisari says that tumor removal by ablation increases immunity against the return of the cancerous tumor cells.

“Surgery can eliminate 80 to 90 percent of a tumor, chemotherapy another five to15 percent,” says Prof. Keisari. “There are often a small number of metastatic cells left in the body, and they kill about 85% of the patients.”

The research was recently published in the medical journal, Translational Research.

The treatment called DaRTTM (Diffusing Alpha-emitters Radiation Therapy), has now been commercialized by Althera Medical, co-located in Tel Aviv and New York City, and will soon undergo clinical trials at Beilinson Hospital.

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Jason Harris

Jason Harris

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