In a first, a team of India scientists has developed a novel and cost-effective 3-D robotic motion phantom that can reproduce the motion of a human lung during breathing. According to the team, this invention will help doctors treat cancer patients, as they will now be able to easily perform focused radiation in the upper abdomen or thoracic region.
Generally, cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy expose non-cancerous regions during the breathing motion to radiation as well. However, according to the team of researchers, focused radiation for a patient could be customised by simulating the lung movement and then modulating radiation so that it can be effective with minimal dosage.
Ashish Dutta, Professor at Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, along with Professor K. J. Maria Das, Professor from Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences (SGPGIMS), Lucknow, developed the programmable phantom device under the ‘Make in India’ initiative supported by the Indian Government's Advanced Manufacturing Technologies programme of the Department of Science and Technology (DST).
"In the medical domain, most things right from the scalpel to more complex equipment are extremely important, and in India, we don't make anything and pay 10-20 times more than the actual price. Most of such things can be made in India. We have the technology and we can make these things and it will be much cheaper. This device that we have made costs from $600 to $1300," lead researcher Ashish Dutta told Sputnik.
The next step is to find a commercial manufacturer for the phantom and this is the point where most researches get stuck, the professor underlined. He also indicated that the model is in the final stages and has yet to be tested on human beings, which may take some time.
India's Ministry of Science and Technology hopes that once production starts for commercial purposes, it will replace the overseas model that is much more expensive and does not provide access to the control software.