The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and Convergent R.N.R. Ltd. (CRnR) today announced a collaboration to further develop new radiation technology aimed at reducing side effects of standard radiation including unwanted radiation to healthy tissue.
The alliance will study the feasibility of using CRnR's converging x-ray lens technology as an effective radiotherapy and radiosurgery option. MD Anderson will develop technologies to enhance and enable clinical implementation of CRnR's Xradiation-ray lens system called Mercy Beam™.
MD Anderson will further explore the system's use in delivering tumor-killing radiation while limiting the dose to healthy and/or sensitive organs in head and neck and pediatric cancers as well as small tumors in various other cancers. The beam works by focusing intensity of kilo-voltage X-ray radiation (similar to those used in chest X-ray) at the tumor site while delivering little to no radiation to nearby organs. This is in contrast to current practices in radiotherapy where mega-voltage X-ray radiation is used to kill cancer tumors.
"We hope to establish whether this technology, which converges and focuses low-energy X-rays, has potential for clinical and patient care use," said Mohammad Salehpour, Ph.D., professor of Radiation Physics at MD Anderson. "We also will test its efficacy in destroying cancer cells and develop treatment protocols and procedures using the technology."
The study will first look at the technology's applicability for smaller tumors, with the goal of furthering its efficacy for larger tumors.
"This alliance will provide CRnR with an opportunity for development of low-energy converging X-ray beam technology for treating cancerous tumors," said Ze'ev Harel, chief executive officer and founder of CRnR. "It has the potential to establish CRnR as a leader in treating small tumors, while still sparing sensitive adjacent organs. It would further facilitate the general ends of constructing hybrid operation rooms based on radiotherapy-supported surgery theatres, and providing much-needed radiotherapy in peripheral locations and in remote and rural clinics. This alliance could benefit the company, and enable speeding up the development by performing preclinical and clinical trials."
As part of the alliance, CRnR will develop, and MD Anderson will assess, the effectiveness of an MLC-like collimator for CRnR' s X-ray lens technology. CRnR will provide and install a research chamber in MD Anderson's simulation lab, where simulation and pre-clinical research will determine the potential for a clinical-grade device. MD Anderson will build, equip and staff a simulation lab housing a research chamber provided by CRnR, and will receive payments based on market capitalization, milestones toward FDA approval, and royalties based on net sales for cancer treatments.