The fundamental challenge of radiotherapy is to treat cancer patients effectively and safely. Today, state-of-the-art radiotherapy provides excellent benefits for patients with early stage cancers. These benefits diminish for patients with radioresistant tumors, such as brain or pancreas cancers, and patients with late stage cancers. For these patients the radiation needed to eradicate radioresistant tumors can cause intolerable or fatal radiation damage to normal tissue. This is especially the case for pediatric patients, whose rapidly developing normal tissues are often more radiosensitive than their tumors, and therefore cannot tolerate radiotherapy that would be curative for adults with the same disease. Microbeam Radiotherapy (MRT) is a unique form of radiation that has shown an extraordinary ability to eradicate tumors and spare normal tissue in numerous animal studies. Despite its enormous clinical impact MRT has not been used on humans, partially due to the lack of understanding of the underlying mechanism, which in turn is hindered by the lack of MRT devices. MRT radiation is technically difficult to produce and is therefore performed in only two institutions in the world with synchrotron facilities.
Utilizing our CNT X-ray source technology our collaborators at UNC-CH built the world's first desktop MRT system. The system has been shown to be capable of producing microbeam radiation in relatively high dose rates. A second generation system was recently designed here at XinRay Systems which is capable of a 20x increase in dose rate compared to the first generation system.