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3D-printed ‘AbdoMan’ could transform radiotherapy


A 3D-printed human torso is helping doctors safely and reliably model ‘internal radiation’ treatments for cancer.

AbdoMan, created by a team at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, replicates the uptake of radioactivity within the abdomen of a human patient.

Researchers fill AbdoMan with a radioactive solution to replicate the complex distribution of radioactivity in tumours and normal tissue within a body organ, such as the liver. This allows them to create images that simulate the distribution of the radiation doses delivered by internal forms of radiotherapy.

Researchers at the University of Oxford, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the company Sirtex Medical Limited will use AbdoMan to model radiation doses from Y-90 resin microspheres — an internal radiation therapy that delivers radiation directly to liver tumours.

Improving radiation dosing

Internal radiation therapies are innovative treatments that involve doctors administering unstable molecules into a tumour — exposing cancer cells to high doses of radiation while the radioactivity undergoes decay. One such treatment, Y-90 resin microspheres, contains radioactive Yttrium, a metal that naturally emits electrons in the form of beta radiation.

The creation of Abdoman at the ICR and The Royal Marsden was funded by Sirtex Medical Limited, which also developed the microspheres.

Study co-leader Dr Jonathan Gear, Clinical Scientist in the Joint Department of Physics at the ICR and The Royal Marsden, said: “Our 3D-printed human torso could transform the development of new forms of radiotherapy by allowing us to safely and reliably improve radiation dosing. It’s already being used to measure how much radiation is being delivered to tumour models using state-of-the-art imaging techniques — and this will help to assess the effects of molecular radiotherapies in patients undergoing clinical trials.”

David Turner, Global Head of Marketing for Sirtex Medical Limited, said: “We were very pleased to enable ‘AbdoMan’ to provide a new way to visualise how our SIR-Spheres Y-90 resin microspheres irradiate liver tumours in cancer patients. We also look forward to seeing if this technical advance can help us test other new products or product applications in the future.”


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