Washington: Astronomers studying stars and black holes have discovered that heavy metals emit low-energy electrons when exposed to X-rays at specific energies -- a finding they say could lead to safer and more effective cancer treatments in the future.
The resulting electron shower can obliterate a tumour and the process would greatly reduce a patient`s radiation exposure compared to most current radiation treatment methods.For their research, presented at the International Symposium on Molecular Spectroscopy held recently in Columbus, the scientists built a prototype device that showed that specific X-ray frequencies can free low-energy electrons from heavy-metal nanoparticles. While the machine needs to be developed further, it`s providing a proof of principle for the potential cancer treatment technique, the astronomers said. "This could lead to a combination of radiation therapy with chemotherapy using platinum as the active agent." PTI
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