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New 3D robotic motion phantom for cancer patients

Indian scientists have developed a new less expensive 3D robotic motion phantom which can simulate the lung motion of humans during breathing. The phantom does not only help in lung motion but can also check if the radiation is being correctly focussed on a moving target. These functions will be beneficial to cancer patients who have to undergo radiation therapy.

The phantom is placed inside a CT scanner on the bed in place of the human, and it emulates human lung motion as it is irradiated during therapy. This way, the medical experts will get to know the amount of radiation being sent to a patient and can regulate it. During irradiation, consistently high-quality images of advanced 4D radiation therapy treatments are obtained with minimum exposure of the patients and workers. 

This development will help cancer patients to absorb maximum radiation and will deliver focussed radiation dose to cancer tumour attached to upper abdomen and thoracic regions. Focussed radiation could be given to patients by simulating the lung movement and then deliever the radiation so that it can be effective with minimal dose.

Professor Ashish Dutta, Professor at IIT Kanpur, along with Professor K J Mariam Das, Professor from Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences (SGPGIMS), Lucknow have developed the programmable robotic motion.

The major part of the phantom is a dynamic platform over which any dosimetric or imaging quality assurance devices can be placed, and the platform can mimic 3D tumor motion by using three independent stepper-motor systems. Detectors placed in the phantom help detect whether the radiation is localised on the tumour. 

This is the first time that India has developed such robotic phantoms. The researchers are currently testing the phantom; once done, it will be open for human trials. The technology is aligned with "Make in India" initiative and under final testing in SGPGIMS, Lucknow. Further trials are under process to commercialise the product into a much more affordable one than other expensive products available in the market.  

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