Special Issue "Casting Light on Cancer Therapy"

A special issue of Applied Sciences (ISSN 2076-3417). This special issue belongs to the section "Optics and Lasers".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2015).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Ken Ledingham
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
SUPA, Department of Physics, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow G40NG, Scotland & Department of Physics, Faculty of Science, University of Selcuk, Konya, 42031, Turkey
Interests: high intensity laser nuclear and particle physics and applications with particular reference to proton oncology; high intensity laser ionization and fragmentation of molecules and applications with particular reference to laser detection of explosives and other environmentally sensitive materials; coupling of high intensity lasers with accelerators with particular reference to Thomson back scattering

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

For about sixty years it has been known that proton and heavy ion therapy is a very powerful radiation procedure for treating tumors. It has an innate ability to irradiate tumors with greater doses and spatial selectivity compared with electron and photon therapy and, hence, is a tissue sparing procedure.

For more than twenty years powerful lasers have generated high energy beams of protons and heavy ions and, therefore, it has frequently been speculated that lasers could be used as an alternative to RF accelerators to produce the particle beams necessary for cancer therapy. This Special Issue reviews the progress made towards laser driven hadron cancer therapy and what has still to be accomplished to realize its inherent enormous potential.

Before the implementation of therapy, however, there are many necessary areas of essential development and we would especially be interested in receiving submissions covering the following and allied areas of research:

(a) the development of reduced size high power lasers for proton and ion therapy;
(b) identifying the laser parameters necessary to produce protons and ions suitable for cancer treatment;
(c) laser-produced monochromatic X-rays for diagnostics;
(d) laser and target technology for producing monoenergetic ion beams;
(e) transport and focusing of laser driven ion beams;
(f) radiobiology and cell damage studies using laser-produced proton beams;
(g) laser-driven medical isotope production, particularly PET isotope production;
(h) medical applications with laser-accelerated electron beams;
(i) advances in diagnostic techniques to characterise and control laser produced ion and photon beams;
(j) critical comparison of conventional and anticipated laser accelerators for producing secondary sources suitable for medical applications;
(k) reports on the establishment of mixed teams of clinicians, radiologists, tissue biologists and chemists to promote the aims of this area of research.

Prof. Dr. Ken Ledingham
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • laser driven ion beams
  • laser driven electron beams
  • laser ion targetry
  • control of laser driven ion beams
  • laser driven ion tissue interaction
  • radiation shielding
  • proton therapy
  • cancer therapy

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Local Effects on Lung Parenchyma Using a 600 µm Bare Fiber with the Diode-Pumped Nd:YAG Laser LIMAX® 120
Appl. Sci. 2015, 5(4), 1560-1569; https://doi.org/10.3390/app5041560 - 03 Dec 2015
Abstract
Lung metastases are frequently removed with an Nd:YAG laser. The aim is to perform a non-anatomic resection of all intraoperatively palpable lung metastases completely in order to preserve the largest possible amount of healthy lung parenchyma. The surgeon can either work with a [...] Read more.
Lung metastases are frequently removed with an Nd:YAG laser. The aim is to perform a non-anatomic resection of all intraoperatively palpable lung metastases completely in order to preserve the largest possible amount of healthy lung parenchyma. The surgeon can either work with a focusing handpiece or use a laser fiber of the so-called bare fiber with direct contact to the lung parenchyma. We currently use a 600 µm bare fiber for applications involving the lung parenchyma. Precise data on the local effect of the laser fiber on the lung parenchyma are not available, especially with regard to an increase in the laser energy. We want to study this question within the scope of an experimental model in pig lungs by means of systematic and reproducible tests. The lung lobes were removed from animals recently slaughtered in the abattoir and taken to the laboratory immediately, where the lobes were stored such that the surface of the lungs was parallel to the floor. A 600 µm bare fiber was attached to a mounting bracket vertically above the lung surface at a distance of either 0, 5, or 10 mm. This mounting bracket was in turn connected to a hydraulic feed motor. The feed motor is capable of moving the bare fiber forward across the lungs consistently at three different speeds (5 mm/s, 10 mm/s, or 20 mm/s). The bare fiber itself was connected to the diode-pumped Nd: YAG Laser LIMAX® 120 (Gebrüder Martin GmbH & Co KG, Tuttlingen, Germany). We carried out the tests using three different laser powers: 20 W, 60 W, and 120 W. The lung lesions caused by the laser in each of the lungs were resected and sent in for histological analysis. The exact size of the vaporization and coagulation zone was measured using the HE sections, and the respective mean values (with standard deviations) were ascertained. For all laser powers, the extent of the vaporization was greatest with a motion speed of 5 mm/s for the respective laser power: 756.4 ± 1.2 µm (20 W), 1411.0 ± 2.3 µm (60 W) and 2126.0 ± 1.4 µm (120 W). At the same time, the extent of the coagulation zone decreased with a consistent speed: 221.8 ± 2.9 µm (20 W), 324.9 ± 1.8 µm (60 W), and 450.5 ± 1.8 µm (120 W). With a consistent laser energy and increasing speed, we also saw a decrease in the size of the vaporization and of the coagulation zone. The same applies for an increasing distance of the bare fiber to the lung surface. The coagulation effect is the dominant effect here. At an operating speed of 5 mm/s and a maximum laser energy of 120, the 600 µm bare fiber exerts a maximum effect. With an increasing distance of the tip of the bare fiber to the lung surface, the coagulation effect is dominant. The effect of the laser decreases with increasing operating speeds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Casting Light on Cancer Therapy)
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Open AccessArticle
Proton Acceleration by Ultrashort Intense Laser Interaction with Microstructured Snow Targets
Appl. Sci. 2015, 5(3), 459-471; https://doi.org/10.3390/app5030459 - 26 Aug 2015
Cited by 1
Abstract
Enhanced proton acceleration to high energy by relatively modest ultrashort laser pulses and structured dynamic plasma snow targets was demonstrated experimentally. High proton yield emitted to narrow solid angle with energies of up 25 MeV were detected from interaction of a 5 TW [...] Read more.
Enhanced proton acceleration to high energy by relatively modest ultrashort laser pulses and structured dynamic plasma snow targets was demonstrated experimentally. High proton yield emitted to narrow solid angle with energies of up 25 MeV were detected from interaction of a 5 TW laser with snow targets. The high yield was attributed to a carefully planned prepulse and microstructured snow targets. We studied experimentally the minimal energy requirements for the adequate prepulse and we are using PIC simulations to study the dynamics of acceleration process. Based on our simulations, we predict that using the proposed scheme protons can be accelerated to energies above 150 MeV by 100 TW laser systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Casting Light on Cancer Therapy)
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Open AccessArticle
Design and Status of the ELIMED Beam Line for Laser-Driven Ion Beams
Appl. Sci. 2015, 5(3), 427-445; https://doi.org/10.3390/app5030427 - 21 Aug 2015
Cited by 12
Abstract
Charged particle acceleration using ultra-intense and ultra-short laser pulses has gathered a strong interest in the scientific community and it is now one of the most attractive topics in the relativistic laser-plasma interaction research. Indeed, it could represent the future of particle acceleration [...] Read more.
Charged particle acceleration using ultra-intense and ultra-short laser pulses has gathered a strong interest in the scientific community and it is now one of the most attractive topics in the relativistic laser-plasma interaction research. Indeed, it could represent the future of particle acceleration and open new scenarios in multidisciplinary fields, in particular, medical applications. One of the biggest challenges consists of using, in a future perspective, high intensity laser-target interaction to generate high-energy ions for therapeutic purposes, eventually replacing the old paradigm of acceleration, characterized by huge and complex machines. The peculiarities of laser-driven beams led to develop new strategies and advanced techniques for transport, diagnostics and dosimetry of the accelerated particles, due to the wide energy spread, the angular divergence and the extremely intense pulses. In this framework, the realization of the ELIMED (ELI-Beamlines MEDical applications) beamline, developed by INFN-LNS (Catania, Italy) and installed in 2017 as a part of the ELIMAIA beamline at the ELI-Beamlines (Extreme Light Infrastructure Beamlines) facility in Prague, has the aim to investigate the feasibility of using laser-driven ion beams in multidisciplinary applications. ELIMED will represent the first user’s open transport beam line where a controlled laser-driven ion beam will be used for multidisciplinary and medical studies. In this paper, an overview of the beamline, with a detailed description of the main transport elements, will be presented. Moreover, a description of the detectors dedicated to diagnostics and dosimetry will be reported, with some preliminary results obtained both with accelerator-driven and laser-driven beams. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Casting Light on Cancer Therapy)
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Open AccessArticle
Ion Acceleration by Short Chirped Laser Pulses
Appl. Sci. 2015, 5(1), 36-47; https://doi.org/10.3390/app5010036 - 17 Feb 2015
Cited by 3
Abstract
Direct laser acceleration of ions by short frequency chirped laser pulses is investigated theoretically. We demonstrate that intense beams of ions with a kinetic energy broadening of about 1% can be generated. The chirping of the laser pulse allows the particles to gain [...] Read more.
Direct laser acceleration of ions by short frequency chirped laser pulses is investigated theoretically. We demonstrate that intense beams of ions with a kinetic energy broadening of about 1% can be generated. The chirping of the laser pulse allows the particles to gain kinetic energies of hundreds of MeVs, which is required for hadron cancer therapy, from pulses of energies in the order of 100 J. It is shown that few-cycle chirped pulses can accelerate ions more efficiently than long ones, i.e., higher ion kinetic energies are reached with the same amount of total electromagnetic pulse energy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Casting Light on Cancer Therapy)
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Open AccessArticle
Laser-Driven Very High Energy Electron/Photon Beam Radiation Therapy in Conjunction with a Robotic System
Appl. Sci. 2015, 5(1), 1-20; https://doi.org/10.3390/app5010001 - 29 Dec 2014
Cited by 7
Abstract
We present a new external-beam radiation therapy system using very-high-energy (VHE) electron/photon beams generated by a centimeter-scale laser plasma accelerator built in a robotic system. Most types of external-beam radiation therapy are delivered using a machine called a medical linear accelerator driven by [...] Read more.
We present a new external-beam radiation therapy system using very-high-energy (VHE) electron/photon beams generated by a centimeter-scale laser plasma accelerator built in a robotic system. Most types of external-beam radiation therapy are delivered using a machine called a medical linear accelerator driven by radio frequency (RF) power amplifiers, producing electron beams with an energy range of 6–20 MeV, in conjunction with modern radiation therapy technologies for effective shaping of three-dimensional dose distributions and spatially accurate dose delivery with imaging verification. However, the limited penetration depth and low quality of the transverse penumbra at such electron beams delivered from the present RF linear accelerators prevent the implementation of advanced modalities in current cancer treatments. These drawbacks can be overcome if the electron energy is increased to above 50 MeV. To overcome the disadvantages of the present RF-based medical accelerators, harnessing recent advancement of laser-driven plasma accelerators capable of producing 1-GeV electron beams in a 1-cm gas cell, we propose a new embodiment of the external-beam radiation therapy robotic system delivering very high-energy electron/photon beams with an energy of 50–250 MeV; it is more compact, less expensive, and has a simpler operation and higher performance in comparison with the current radiation therapy system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Casting Light on Cancer Therapy)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Vibrational Microspectroscopy for Cancer Screening
Appl. Sci. 2015, 5(1), 23-35; https://doi.org/10.3390/app5010023 - 13 Feb 2015
Cited by 12
Abstract
Vibrational spectroscopy analyses vibrations within a molecule and can be used to characterise a molecular structure. Raman spectroscopy is one of the vibrational spectroscopic techniques, in which incident radiation is used to induce vibrations in the molecules of a sample, and the scattered [...] Read more.
Vibrational spectroscopy analyses vibrations within a molecule and can be used to characterise a molecular structure. Raman spectroscopy is one of the vibrational spectroscopic techniques, in which incident radiation is used to induce vibrations in the molecules of a sample, and the scattered radiation may be used to characterise the sample in a rapid and non-destructive manner. Infrared (IR) spectroscopy is a complementary vibrational spectroscopic technique based on the absorption of IR radiation by the sample. Molecules absorb specific frequencies of the incident light which are characteristic of their structure. IR and Raman spectroscopy are sensitive to subtle biochemical changes occurring at the molecular level allowing spectral variations corresponding to disease onset to be detected. Over the past 15 years, there have been numerous reports demonstrating the potential of IR and Raman spectroscopy together with multivariate statistical analysis techniques for the detection of a variety of cancers including, breast, lung, brain, colon, oral, oesophageal, prostate and cervical cancer. This paper discusses the recent advances and the future perspectives in relation to cancer screening applications, focussing on cervical and oral cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Casting Light on Cancer Therapy)
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Open AccessReview
Towards Laser Driven Hadron Cancer Radiotherapy: A Review of Progress
Appl. Sci. 2014, 4(3), 402-443; https://doi.org/10.3390/app4030402 - 19 Sep 2014
Cited by 38
Abstract
It has been known for about sixty years that proton and heavy ion therapy is a very powerful radiation procedure for treating tumors. It has an innate ability to irradiate tumors with greater doses and spatial selectivity compared with electron and photon therapy [...] Read more.
It has been known for about sixty years that proton and heavy ion therapy is a very powerful radiation procedure for treating tumors. It has an innate ability to irradiate tumors with greater doses and spatial selectivity compared with electron and photon therapy and, hence, is a tissue sparing procedure. For more than twenty years, powerful lasers have generated high energy beams of protons and heavy ions and it has, therefore, frequently been speculated that lasers could be used as an alternative to radiofrequency (RF) accelerators to produce the particle beams necessary for cancer therapy. The present paper reviews the progress made towards laser driven hadron cancer therapy and what has still to be accomplished to realize its inherent enormous potential. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Casting Light on Cancer Therapy)
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