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Patents

[Written but not filed. Public domain]

UNITED STATES UTILITY PATENT APPLICATION

FOR

Technique to Isolate and Quantify Cell Death Using Centrifugation Inventor: Blake Marggraff

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] Embodiments of the invention relate generally to the field of medical technology. More particularly, embodiments of the invention relate to techniques for isolation and/or quantification of cell death. DESCRIPTION OF RELATED ART [0002] Quantifying cell death, including cell death in cultures, has been done by isolating a culture, applying treatment or allowing for growth, and using various techniques to determine the extent of cellular damage, lack of cellular function, or other manifestations of cell death. Techniques including microscopic analysis, fluorescent of non-fluorescent dye analysis based on dye uptake or release, or other methods of visual or chemical detection currently used are expensive and time-intensive. Moreover, it can be difficult to accurately quantify cell death of a new or less studied species of organism, or a species that may react differently to any given treatment. [0003] In addition, limitations imposed by cost or time hinder rapid isolation and cell death quantification in situations that may require faster response in one or both areas: isolating sufficient cells without inflicting additional damage; testing a potential new antibiotic, antimicrobial, or antifungal drug or treatment; or verifying the origin, characteristics, or drug response of a given species of prokaryotic or eukaryotic cell. [0004] For the above and other reasons, an accurate, lower-cost, more portable, more widely accessible, more time-effective method of cell isolation and quantification is needed. Moreover, a method that is easier to use and applicable to a broad or potentially universal range of organisms is needed. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES [0005] Embodiments of the present invention [are] illustrated by way of example and not limitation in the Figures of the accompanying drawings: [0006] Figure 1 illustrates a single-centrifuge-tube-based separation result of a cell culture with 100% cell death, in which separation into dead cell solid, and dead cell liquid with any other liquid constituents, has occurred. [0007] Figure 2 illustrates a single-centrifuge-tube-based separation result of a cell culture with <100% cell death, in which separation into living cell solid, dead cell solid, and dead cell liquid with any other liquid constituents, has occurred. [0008] Figure 3 illustrates a model of single-centrifuge-tube-based separation equipment, which may be applied for more rapid or accurate separation of the dead cell liquid (and other liquid constituents) and dead cell solid components. [0009] Figure 4 illustrates a model of multi-centrifuge-tube-based separation equipment, which may be applied for more rapid or accurate separation of the dead cell liquid (and other liquid constituents) and dead cell solid components. [0010] Figure 5 illustrates the internal “filtration” tube and column that may be used in at least one embodiment as the internal tube in multi-centrifuge-tube-based separation equipment. [0011] Figure 6 illustrates test results from experiments performed using embodiments of the invention.

[0012] The following description describes embodiments of a technique to isolate cells and quantify cell death. More particularly, the following is a description of embodiments to isolate cells and quantify cell death using centrifugation. In at least one embodiment, cells are isolated through density-dependent separation as a result of centrifugation. In at least one embodiment, the gravitational force equivalent to centrifugation speed was equal to ~16,000G, or 16,000 times the force of gravity; however, the force of centrifugation may vary from 1G≤x≤24,000G, and may be nonexistent if another method, such as vacuum filtration, is implemented. In at least one embodiment, the living cells within the culture are isolated and concentrated by initial centrifugation. In at least one embodiment, the excess fluid (which may contain such materials as water, growth media, or other organic or inorganic components or ions) is removed manually after the cells have formed a pellet in the bottom of the single-centrifuge-tube equipment. In at least one embodiment, the excess fluid is removed automatically as a result of pressure or osmosis, or a combination of pressure and osmosis, and the fluid flows through semipermeable membranes built into the tube. In such a removal mechanism, the “flow-through,” or fluid removed, is removed to a large enough degree such that a minimal percent difference in mass of liquid in the post-centrifugation pellet exists. Thus, the masses of any pellets will be comparable without additional compensation needed for liquid remnants. In all cases described, the eventual goal is effective separation of the solid components from the liquid components. [0013] In one embodiment, after concentration of cells in a post-centrifugation pellet and removal of “flow-through,” the resulting mass of the pellet and tube may be determined and recorded. In at least one embodiment, the mass of the tube or system of tubes containing the cell culture is determined before addition of the living cell culture. After massing of the tube alone and the tube and 100% living cell pellet, the mass of the 100% living cell pellet may be determined. This mass, which will be known as the “living cell mass,” is the mass of what will become the dead cell solid mass and the dead cell liquid mass and any remaining living cell solid mass. The living cell mass is all solid, as the constituent cell bodies are intact and functional, and have not undergone any damage, or chemical or biological change, up to this point. After massing, the 100% living cell pellet will undergo full-death treatment, in which in at least one embodiment the cell culture is exposed to UV-A radiation of wavelength 400nm≥x≥315nm, at photon energies of 3.10eV≤xeV≤3.94eV. Other methods to induce complete cell death while maintaining the necessary similar physical characteristics of the resulting components may be used, and may include but are not limited to: heating until death or denaturing occurs, exposure to other ionizing or nonionizing forms of electromagnetic radiation, placement in a chemical medium in which death and separation occurs, physical agitation or temperature-induced stress, starvation (through removal of all growth media) until reproduction and normal life function ceases, or infection or poisoning, all of which may result in cell death. In at least one embodiment, any given method is accompanied by addition to the culture of salt solution (consisting of some concentration of dissolved, ionically bonded compound), or other solution with solute concentration (consisting of some concentration of dissolved compound or molecule), in which the concentration of solutes is greater than that within the cell. This concentration differential, in combination with the dead cells’ inability to undergo or enact osmoregulation in which the concentration or pressure of water and salts inside and outside the cell ceases, results in removal of the cell’s liquid constituents. Thus, 100% of the cells are killed and all liquid constituents (“dead cell liquid”) are removed from the cell bodies. Centrifugation of the resulting cultures of dead cells with dead cell liquid removed will yield a pellet of dead cell solids and a supernatant of dead cell liquid and all other solutions or liquid constituents present in the cell culture. As detailed in [0012], the flow through will be sufficiently removed, and the resulting tube and pellet of 100% dead cell solids may be massed. Then, by determining and subtracting the mass of the tube alone from the mass of the tube in combination with 100% dead cell solids, the mass of the solid constituents of all of the cells from the original culture may be determined and recorded. Furthermore, the mass of 100% dead cell solids-pellet may be divided from the mass of 100% living cell-pellet, and the difference may be multiplied by 100% in order to find the constant percentage or ratio of dead cell solid to living cell solid for that given species of cell. The constant ratio will be referred to as the Marggraff constant, denoted KM. As will be demonstrated in the following detailed description, the KM may then be applied to future experimental results and in various contexts to determine the extent of cell death in any given culture, and (by extrapolation) the efficacy of any given treatment of any given cell death of any given culture. Furthermore, as the KM is determinable for any species of cell in any cell culture, this method of quantification of cell death becomes universally applicable. [0014] Further initial experimentation has demonstrated that the KM may be applied to the following bacterial (prokaryotic) species: Salmonella Enteritidis, Corynebacterium Xerosis, Klebsiella Pneumoniae, Enterococcus Faecalis. In one embodiment, each of these species was subjected to the process described above, resulting in a unique KM being acquired for each. It should be noted that the KM acquired was consistent from culture to culture. Advantageously, the process may easily be modified to fit circumstances, with changes including but not limited to changes in the intensity or duration of centrifugation or changes in the duration of exposure to a destructive medium, such as ultraviolet radiation. Thus, this process may be implemented for quantification of cell death within almost any situation. [0015] Embodiments of the same or similar treatments may be conducted with process-specific or process-nonspecific (general) incubation or centrifugation tubes. Tubes specifically designed for centrifugation with simultaneous separation of the solid and liquid components, in which the pressure generated automatically separates the cell bodies (living or dead) from the liquid, may be used. Similarly, tubes in which manual or semi-manual separation or removal is required may be used with similar or same effect. In any of the described cases, the goal of centrifugation-based separation is the same: preserve the solid cell mass (and, if centrifuging living cell mass, maintain the integrity of the cells themselves) while removing as much of the liquid constituents as possible. [0016] Embodiments of the invention may be useful in developed, developing, or under-developed countries and regions of the world, in which current cell-death quantification methods may not be readily available or cost-effective. More specifically, such situations may demand cell death quantification for the purpose of determining the efficacy of a new antibiotic or antimicrobial treatment substance or method, in which the researcher, healthcare worker, or other individual must determine the treatment’s efficacy. The method may also be used in advanced settings, or to test a drug or treatment’s efficacy in either destruction or preservation of human or non-human cells, including but not limited to in-vitro cancer research, stem-cell research, or artificial or natural tissue growth. Embodiments of the invention may be used to gauge, analyze, or determine the hardiness, resistance, or tolerance of harsh conditions of any cell type or organism. Embodiments of the invention may be used in an educational setting in which students or researchers may need to determine a given species’ survival rate, resistance, response to a drug, or other resultant percent death. Embodiments of the invention may be used to determine the lifespan or death of an organism or cell culture as a result of genetic modification or other artificial genetic or cellular manipulation.

 

 

UNITED STATES UTILITY PATENT APPLICATION

 

FOR

 

Technique to Treat Cancer Using Secondary Radiation

Inventors:

Blake Marggraff

Matthew Feddersen

 

Erik Metzger

Reg. No. 53,320

 

Nixon Peabody, LLP

One Embarcadero Center

18th Floor

San Francisco, CA 94111-3600

 


 

TECHNIQUE TO TREAT CANCER USING SECONDARY RADIATION

 

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001Embodiments of the invention relate generally to the field of medical technology.  More particularly, embodiments of the invention relate to techniques for treating cancer.

 

DESCRIPTION OF RELATED ART

[0002]           Treating cancer has been done by applying primary radiation directly to cancer cells within the human body.  This has involved bombarding cancer cells with high-energy radiation, such as x-ray radiation.  Unfortunately, treating cancer directly with primary radiation sources has several disadvantages for patients and health care providers.  For example, primary radiation x-rays can cause significant damage to healthy cells in the body.  This may be particularly true for radiation-sensitive tissue in the eye, testicles, breast, or other radiation-sensitive organs.  Moreover, it can be difficult to accurately apply primary radiation to cancer cells without adversely affecting healthy cells. 

[0003]           In addition, primary radiation used in modern cancer treatments can be expensive to administer, often requiring expensive equipment.  Producing high-energy primary radiation may require equipment that is not readily accessible to poorer people in, for example, under-developed countries.  Moreover, the energy required of high-energy primary radiation to effectively treat cancer can be costly to produce. 

[0004]           For the above and other reasons, an accurate, lower-cost, lower-power, more portable, easier to use and administer radiation treatment for cancer is needed.  Moreover, a cancer treatment that is less destructive to healthy cells within the body, particularly within radiation sensitive tissue, is needed.


BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

[0005]           Embodiments of the present invention is illustrated by way of example and not limitation in the Figures of the accompanying drawings:

[0006]           Figure 1 illustrates a radiation therapy apparatus in which at least one embodiment may be used.

[0007]           Figure 2 illustrates a manner, in which at least one embodiment is applied to a malignant tumor.

[0008]           Figure 3 illustrates secondary radiation-generating particles used in conjunction with at least one embodiment.

[0009]           Figure 4 illustrates a testing apparatus, in which at least one embodiment was reduced to practice.

[0010]           Figure 5 illustrates test results from experiments performed using embodiments of the invention.



DETAILED DESCRIPTION


[0011]           The following description describes embodiments of a technique to treat cancer cells.  More particularly, the following is a description of embodiments to treat cancer using secondary radiation.  In at least one embodiment, secondary radiation is generated from a primary radiation source, such as x-ray radiation or photon radiation of range from less than 120eV to over 4.2MeV.  In at least one embodiment, radiation of any energy could produce a secondary radiation.  In at least one embodiment, secondary radiation is generated from primary radiation being applied to an irregularly or regularly-shaped particle, such as tin, gold, silver, platinum, or other inert metal, or any element(s), material, compound, or molecule.   In at least one embodiment, secondary radiation is generated by Compton scattering of primary radiation being applied to an irregularly or regularly-shaped inert metal particle, such as tin.  In at least one embodiment, tin or other inert metal particles are coated with polyethylene glycol (PEG) or material with similar properties to decrease absorption or toxicity of tin by the host tissue and/or increase the generation of free-radicals or damaging particles, such as oxygen, to attack or damage cancer cells, such as the genetic material of cancer cells within the host tissue.  In at least one embodiment, inert metal particles, such as tin, are coated in PEG and delivered to a malignant or benign tumor through a delivery mechanism and a primary radiation source, such as x-ray radiation, is applied to the tumor containing the PEG-coated particles, causing a Compton scattering of secondary radiation to be generated within relatively close proximity to the target cancer cells. 

[0012]           In one embodiment, cancerous, eukaryotic cells, when exposed to radiation in close proximity to a random array of tin particles, will be damaged to the point that genetic disrepair, such as that caused within the genetic material in the cells, will be mutated extensively enough such that the cancer cells, lacking necessary repair mechanisms, will not be able to successfully divide and/or grow, due at least in part to the secondary radiation (e.g., lower-energy x-rays) emitted by the inert particles, such as tin, during the irradiation process through Compton scattering, pair production, or the photoelectric effect. The process can then be refined to more precise energies of x-rays with lower intensities of ionizing radiation to effectively treat cancerous growths by injecting the growth with inert particles, such as tin, gold, silver, etc., before exposing the growths to the radiation, or otherwise delivering the material(s) before exposing the growths to the radiation. Further refinement of the energy of primary radiation used may be dependent on nuclear or electronic characteristics of the material used to create secondary radiation. Depending on the size and characteristics of a tumor, different materials that release different forms of ionizing secondary radiation may be employed, and different energies of primary photons may be used. Forms of ionizing secondary radiation produced may not be limited to electromagnetic radiation.

[0013]           Compton scattering, in one embodiment, involves an electron recoiling and being ejected from the affected atom, causing the atom to release more radiation of a different wavelength than the incident radiation. In one embodiment, an inert metal, such as tin, releases x-rays of slightly longer wavelengths than the incident radiation. In one embodiment, Compton scattering caused by incident radiation colliding with inert metal particles, such as tin, increases the total absorbed dose of ionizing radiation for cancer cells in proximity to the inert metal particles. In one embodiment, x-rays may have an energy of 60KeV, and when undergoing Compton scattering at an average resultant energy of 53.6KeV ≤ X ≤ 59.5KeV, cause more cell death of cancer cells within close proximity to the inert metal particles than in the prior art with less damage to surrounding healthy cells.  However, the range of secondary radiation energy may depend on the energy of the primary radiation and method by which the secondary radiation is produced. In one embodiment, energy that would otherwise have travelled through the cancer cells only once instead interacted with the inert metal particles and produce a second and almost equally damaging x-ray of only slightly less energy to increase the overall damage to cancer cells. In one embodiment, production of the secondary radiation may occur through inverse Compton scattering, resulting in a more energetic secondary photon.

[0014]           Advantageously, embodiments of the invention enable more localized intensive radiation to be delivered with greater accuracy, at lower energy, and with less damage to healthy cells than in the prior art.  Particularly, embodiments of the invention enable radiation treatment of cancer cells with greater accuracy than the prior art by generating secondary radiation via Compton scattering near the point of incidence of the primary radiation with inert metal particles within and nearby the tumor.  Moreover, embodiments can enable the radiation treatment of cancer cells with lower-energy and less-expensive radiation sources and delivery mechanisms than the prior art by generating secondary radiation that is in close proximity to the cancer cells.  Embodiments can treat cancer cells with less damage to healthy cells than in the prior art by reducing the energy of the primary radiation source required to generate an effective level of free radicals necessary to kill cancer cells.  In one embodiment, a greater number of free radicals, such as oxygen, are delivered to the cancer cells than in the prior art by generating Compton scattering-produced secondary radiation in close proximity to the cancer cells.  In one embodiment, in which inert metal particles are coated with PEG, even more free radicals may be generated from the Compton scattering secondary radiation and primary radiation colliding with the PEG layer, which may release additional free radicals that are able to inflict further damage on the cancer cells.

[0015]           Similar advantages may be seen through an embodiment when used in combination with brachytherapy-based cancer treatment, in which radioactive seeds of natural and/or artificial elements and of varied intensities (radioactivities), or temporarily radioactive, photon-producing seeds (similar to miniature x-ray tubes) are impregnated within the patient, in close proximity to a tumor. In such treatment, the use of secondary metal particles coated with a free-radical producing agent, such as PEG, will allow for further localized production of secondary x-rays or ionizing radiation, as well as furthering absorption of radiation in the area of the tumor near the brachytherapy seed. In one embodiment, the production of secondary radiation near an oxygen-heavy material will also allow for creation of free radicals, furthering damage and increasing death among the cancerous cells.

[0016]           Embodiments of the invention may be useful in developing or under-developed countries and regions of the world, in which more advanced radiation treatment delivery mechanisms and care may not be readily available.  For example, in countries or regions that do not have access to stereotactic or 3-dimensional conformal external beam radiation therapy (XRT) machines, embodiments may be used in conjunction with less advanced radiation delivery mechanisms, such as conventional external beam radiation therapy (2DXRT).  This is because embodiments effectively focus and amplify the number of free radicals generated in close proximity to the cancer cells through the use of secondary Compton scatter radiation incident with PEG-coated inert metal particles, such as tin.  Therefore, embodiments can kill at least the same number of cancer cells with a lower primary radiation source than prior art mechanisms that deliver the primary radiation source directly to the cancer cells.  Embodiments enable not only cheaper, less-advanced primary radiation sources to be used than in the prior art, but because lower-energy primary radiation sources can be used in conjunctions with embodiments of the invention, embodiments enable less damage to healthy cells than prior art radiation treatment therapy.

[0017]           Embodiments of the invention can also benefit modern radiation treatment therapies that used more advanced primary radiation generation and delivery mechanisms, such as 3-dimenational conformal XRT, by focusing and amplifying the production of cancer-fighting free radicals in close proximity to the treated cancer cells.  The amplifying and focusing effects of embodiments of the invention serve to increase the density and intensity of radiation that is generated in close proximity to the cancer cells, thereby generating more free radicals within the tumor itself that can attack cancer cells.

[0018]           Figure 1 illustrates one apparatus involved in the application of at least one embodiment.  Particularly, Figure 1 illustrates a 3-dimensional conformal external beam radiation therapy (XRT) machine 100, with which at least one embodiment may be used.  In Figure 1, the primary radiation producing apparatus 101 may produce x-rays, photons, or other radiation delivered to a human body 105 either from a fixed position or by rotating around the circumference of the body.  In one embodiment, inert metal particles, such as tin coated with PEG may be injected into one or more tumors in the human body of Figure 1 before administering the primary radiation to the body. 

[0019]           In one embodiment, the primary radiation may intersect with injected PEG-coated particles producing a Compton scattering of secondary radiation (or other secondary radiation-producing processes, such as photoelectric effect, pair production, etc.), which may generate free radical oxygen atoms both from the PEG and from oxygen-heavy molecules found in blood such as hemoglobin carrying oxygen in close proximity or even feeding the cancer cells. In one embodiment, free radicals may be produced whether or not neoangiogenesis or angiogenesis is occurring or has occurred.  The free radicals produced from both the primary and secondary radiation may combine to oxidize the DNA of the cancer cells, causing the treated tumor to be eradicated through oxidative damage. The free radicals may also damage the cancer cells by interfering with or damaging any component of the cells, or any process necessary to the life, growth, or reproduction of the cells.  In one embodiment, the number and/or density of free radicals caused by the secondary radiation in close proximity to the cancer cells is greater than that produced by the primary radiation acting alone.  In at least one embodiment, a lower dose, energy, or duration of primary radiation may be generated by the apparatus 100 when used in conjunction with the injected PEG-coated tin particles to kill at least the same number of cancer cells as when using a higher-energy or dosage of primary radiation alone.

[0020]           Figure 2 illustrates the function of at least one embodiment.  Particularly, Figure 2 illustrates a primary radiation source 201 that produces a primary radiation 205.  In one embodiment, the primary radiation source may contain an isotope of cobalt or other natural or artificial radioactive material, or combination of materials, suitable to generate an x-ray, photon, or other primary radiation.  The primary radiation of Figure 2 intersects with a tumor or other benign or malignant growth 207 containing particles 209 of an inert metal, such as tin.  In one embodiment, the inert metal is coated in PEG so as to avoid poisoning the host body and to enhance the number of cancer-fighting free radicals when the primary radiation is applied.  In one embodiment the primary radiation that intersects the particles generates a secondary radiation 210 through a secondary radiation-generating process, such as Compton scattering.  In one embodiment the secondary radiation is scattered in multiple directions from the particles to generate a substantially three-dimensional burst of secondary radiation, which causes the release of free radicals, such as oxygen, both from the PEG material as well as from nearby blood hemoglobin, which may contain a substantial level of oxygen.  In one embodiment, the substantially spherical burst of secondary radiation, which exposes nearby cancer cells in all three dimensions to increased levels of secondary radiation, will also decrease the total ionizing radiation exposure to the rest of the body (and non-cancerous cells), and increase the dose of ionizing radiation to the cancerous cells. The total absorbed dose to the entire body will not be any higher than without inert metal and/or inert metal with coating present.

[0021]           In one embodiment, the secondary radiation generates more free radicals in close proximity to the tumor than the primary radiation acting alone, effectively amplifying and focusing the cancer treatment on the tumor, substantially sparing neighboring healthy cells from exposure to both the radiation, and to the free radicals which may have been produced.  The number of particles that may be used to generate an effective amount of secondary radiation to properly treat the cancer cell may depend on the size of the tumor, the amount and energy of the primary radiation, the micro-particle material, and other factors.  In one embodiment, the greater the number of particles used (to a certain point), the more secondary radiation is produced and the more free radicals are generated to fight the cancer cells.  In one embodiment, the primary radiation may be of a lower energy or quantity, or exposed for a shorter duration, than in prior art approaches, thereby saving energy, cost, and damage to healthy cells.

[0022]           In one embodiment, molecules or particles specifically intended for attachment to cancer cells can be chemically attached to PEG (polyethylene glycol) or MPEG (methyloxy-polyethylene glycol).  In one embodiment, such modification of the inert metal coated in PEG material with or without additional markers attached may have a reduced rate of uptake by kidneys and liver by up to 50%, vastly extending the half-life of the inert metal and/or the inert metal with molecules or particles in the bloodstream, thus increasing the efficacy of treatment of a tumor.  PEG is also rich in oxygen, an agent that may be used in the destruction or damage of cancer cells. The presence of free or loosely bonded oxygen during irradiation leads to the creation of free radicals (due to ionization), in one embodiment.  Because free radicals have the potential to damage cancerous cells’ genetic information beyond future functionality, this leads to a significantly increased probability of cell death in one embodiment.

[0023]           Figure 3 illustrates a PEG-coated micro-particle that may be used in conjunction with at least one embodiment.  Particularly, Figure 3 illustrates inert metal micro-particle(s) 301 injected into a tumor 303, such as tin, coated with a PEG material.  In one embodiment, the micro-particle ranges in size from approximately .01 micrometers to 10. micrometers or larger and may be generated by simple or complicated mechanical means.  In one embodiment, the particle is irregularly shaped, such that an incident primary radiation 305 from a source 315 generates a secondary radiation 310 that is scattered in many directions from the particle to form a substantially 3-dimensional burst of secondary radiation. In one embodiment, 3-dimensionality of the metal particles, as well as their 3-dimensional dispersal within the tumor, also enables focused delivery of the secondary photons’ energies to the tumor, while limiting radiation exposure to the rest of the body.  In one embodiment, the secondary radiation is produced from a Compton scattering of radiation produced when the primary radiation energizes electrons within the particle material.  The secondary radiation produced by the energized electrons in the particles then collides with the PEG material, which is oxygen rich.  This collision of secondary radiation and PEG material causes oxygen or other free radicals to be released from the PEG material.  The free radicals may then combine with DNA of nearby cancer cells to effectively oxidize the DNA, which brings about the death of the cells and ultimately the tumor containing the cancer cells. In one embodiment, the secondary radiation may also augment cancer cell death by direct ionization of the DNA or other vital components within the cancer cells.  Because the secondary radiation is generated in close proximity to the cancer cells, it can enhance the number of free radicals released both from the PEG and from nearby oxygen-rich material contained in the blood, such as hemoglobin. This enhancement of free radicals in close proximity to the cancer cells effectively magnifies and focuses the overall radiation treatment of the cells in the area where it’s needed, while leaving nearby healthy cells substantially undamaged, in comparison to the prior art.  Because embodiments enhance the number of free radicals produced in close proximity to the cancer cells, a lower energy, intensity, and/or duration of incident primary radiation may be used while killing at least the same number of cancer cells.  This is particularly advantageous for more primitive radiation generating mechanisms that may be used in poorer or developing regions of the world.  Embodiments also help to save energy, cost, and damage to healthy cells.

[0024]           Figure 4 is a testing apparatus used in reducing at least one embodiment to practice.  In one embodiment, the testing apparatus 400 includes a radiation generator 401, such as a dental x-ray tube or tube capable of producing similar intensities and energies of radiation (60KeV), a power source 405, a test tube holder 410 surrounding the radiation source containing a number of test tubes.  In one embodiment, half of the test tubes 415 contain a test specimen without PEG-coated inert metal particles and the other half 420 contain PEG-coated inert metal particles.  In one embodiment the PEG-coated inert metal particles include tin particles.  A lead shield 425 may also be used to protect outsiders from the effects of the radiation.  Adequate distance and shielding is provided between the two sets of test tubes, such that no secondary radiation from one set affects the other.  In one embodiment, the radiation is applied to be sets of test tubes for about 1 hour and the results are tested to determine how many specimen cells were killed in one set containing the particles compared with the set that does not contain the particles.  In one embodiment, the test specimen includes yeast cultures of yeast species Saccharomyces Cerevisiae to model the behavior of cancer cells.

[0025]           Figure 5A and 5B are tables showing the results of tests conducted in accordance with the technique illustrated in Figure 4.  Figure 5A shows the results of irradiating a target simulated cancer mass for 1 hour.  Figure 5B shows the results of irradiating a target simulated cancer mass for 2 hours. 

[0026]           Figures 5A and 5B illustrate four distinct trials and 72 culture samples, which provides adequate investigation of the effectiveness of embodiments of the invention.  Specifically, the data provided in Figures 5A and 5B demonstrates that, when applied at the appropriate energy and intensity and for the correct duration, radiation treatment of simulated cancer cells can be augmented with the addition of tin to the cell cultures, according to one embodiment.   For one embodiment, the data and calculations indicate that if the total absorbed dosage of radiation is too low (1 hour exposure), the effectiveness of cell damage will drop below the control for the non-tin cultures, but increase slightly for the cultures impregnated with inert metal particles, such as tin particles.  Moreover, Figures 5A and 5B illustrate that a 2 hour radiation exposure yields only a slight increase in cell damage to the irradiated cells a inert metal, such as tin, in tube set D, while illustrating a significant increase in the efficacy of radiation treatment in tube set A, in which the target cells are doped with inert metal particles, such as tin.  Thus, data Figures 5A and 5B demonstrate that the addition of tin increases treatment efficacy, and decreases the relative amount of radiation necessary for the treatment to be effective.

[0027]           Each of the trials, A, B, C, and D in Figures 5A and 5B are conducted with different combinations of radiation and tin.  Trial A in Figures 5A and 5B is performed with radiation and tin.  Trial B in Figures 5A and 5B is performed with tin and no radiation.  Trial C in Figures 5A and 5B is performed without tin or radiation.  Trial D in Figures 5A and 5B is performed with radiation and without tin.  The results from these trials illustrate a greater percentage of cancer cells killed using radiation with tin.

[0028]           Thus, techniques for treating cancer are disclosed.  While certain exemplary embodiments have been described and shown in the accompanying drawings, it is to be understood that such embodiments are merely illustrative of and not restrictive on the broad invention, and that this invention not be limited to the specific constructions and arrangements shown and described, since various other modifications may occur to those ordinarily skilled in the art upon studying this disclosure.  In an area of technology such as this, where growth is fast and further advancements are not easily foreseen, the disclosed embodiments may be readily modifiable in arrangement and detail as facilitated by enabling technological advancements without departing from the principles of the present disclosure or the scope of the accompanying claims.


CLAIMS

What is claimed is:

{cke_protected_2}1.     An apparatus comprising:

a plurality of inert metal particles coated with polyethylene glycol (PEG) to be implanted into a malignant tumor, wherein a secondary radiation is to be generated as a result of the plurality of inert metal particles being exposed to a primary radiation, wherein the secondary radiation is to cause free radicals to be released from the PEG.


{cke_protected_3}2.     The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the secondary radiation is to be produced, at least in part, through a Compton scattering effect.


{cke_protected_4}3.     The apparatus of claim 2, wherein the secondary radiation in combination with the primary radiation are to produce more free radicals than the primary radiation acting alone.


{cke_protected_5}4.     The apparatus of claim 3, wherein the free radicals comprise an oxygen atom.


{cke_protected_6}5.     The apparatus of claim 4, wherein the secondary radiation is to radiate from the plurality of inert metal particles in substantially 3-dimensions.


{cke_protected_7}6.     The apparatus of claim 5, wherein the inert metal particles are to be relatively close proximity to cancer cells within the malignant tumor.


{cke_protected_8}7.     The apparatus of claim 6, wherein the primary radiation comprises x-rays.


{cke_protected_9}8.     The apparatus of claim 7, wherein the inert metal comprises tin.


{cke_protected_10}9.     A system comprising:


an apparatus to deliver cancer-treating primary radiation to a human or other organism, wherein the apparatus is to deliver the primary radiation of a first energy to a cancerous growth, wherein the cancerous growth has been injected with inert metal particles to cause a secondary radiation of a second energy to be produced as a result of the primary radiation being exposed to the inert metal particles.


{cke_protected_11}10.  The system of claim 9, wherein the apparatus is to deliver x-rays to the human or other organism.


{cke_protected_12}11.  The system of claim 9, wherein the apparatus is to deliver photons to the human or other organism.


{cke_protected_13}12.  The system of claim 10, wherein the inert metal particles comprise tin.


{cke_protected_14}13.  The system of claim 12, wherein the secondary radiation is to be produced from a Compton scattering effect.


{cke_protected_15}14.  The system of claim 9, comprising a 3-dimensional conformal external beam radiation therapy (XRT) machine.


{cke_protected_16}15.  The system of claim 9, comprising a conventional external beam radiation therapy (2DXRT) machine.


{cke_protected_17}16.  The system of claim 9, wherein the inert metal particles are to be coated with polyethylene glycol.


{cke_protected_18}17.  A method comprising:

injecting a tumor with a plurality of inert metal particles;

delivering a primary radiation to the tumor after being injected with the inert metal particles.


{cke_protected_19}18.  The method of claim 17, further comprising coating the plurality of inert metal particles with polyethylene glycol (PEG).


{cke_protected_20}19.  The method of claim 18, wherein the tumor is to be treated with secondary radiation produced from the primary radiation being exposed to the plurality of inert metal particles.


{cke_protected_21}20.  The method of claim 19, wherein the secondary radiation to be produced from a Compton scattering effect caused, in at least part, by the primary radiation being exposed to the plurality of inert metal particles.


{cke_protected_22}21.  The method of claim 20, wherein the tumor is to receive radiation from the primary radiation and secondary radiation.


{cke_protected_23}22.  The method of claim 21, wherein the plurality of inert metal particles comprise tin.


{cke_protected_24}23.  The method of claim 22, wherein each of the plurality of inert metal particles are irregularly shaped.


{cke_protected_25}24.  The method of claim 17, wherein the primary radiation comprises x-rays.


{cke_protected_26}25.  The method of claim 17, wherein the primary radiation is to be generated by 3-dimensional conformal external beam radiation therapy (XRT) machine.






                 


ABSTRACT

Method and apparatus for performing treating cancer using secondary radiation.  In one embodiment, cancer is treated using secondary radiation produced, for example, from Compton scatter secondary radiation-producing techniques.