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  13-01-2006: MATRIXX: A SIMULATATED PATIENT FOR RADIOTHERAPY  
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© Copyright 2002 INFN The use of photos is free of charge. Please request authorisation from the INFN Communication Office




Its name is MatriXX but it has nothing to do with the virtual programme of the famous cinematographic trilogy. It is instead an innovative instrument for biomedicine: a dosimetry for radiotherapy developed by the Turin section of Italian Institute for Nuclear Physics and by the University of the county town of Piemonte, in collaboration with the Association for the Scientific and Technological Development (Asp) of Piemonte and with Tera (Therapy with adronic radiations) Foundation. Matrix will be presented officially Wednesday, 18th January at 10:30 at the Magna Hall of Turin University during a meeting opened to journalists. The participants will be the representatives of the involved local administrations, of University, institutions and hospitals of the town and of Scanditronix-Wellhöfer, the company that produces the instrument. On this occasion the genesis of Matrixx project will be travelled over again, the different phases of its realization will be analyzed and the results of its clinical application will be discussed.

In radiotherapy treatments it is essential that the patient receives radiations exclusively on the tumour affected part, so that the surrounding healthy organs or tissues are not hit. For this reason a collimator is put in front of the x radiation beam. The collimator gives the beam itself a form that is consistent with the tumour form. In the most modern radiotherapy treatments Imrt (Intensity Modulated RadioTherapy) the collimator is controlled by a computer and during the operation it endures continuous movements: a strategy that permits to optimize the radiation dose sent to the tumour mass, reducing to a minimum the dose that reaches the surrounding healthy areas. When all is planned and before operating the patient, it is necessary to verify that the beam form is exactly the right one and for this reason MatriXX has been conceived.

“The project is born from an idea of Ugo Amaldi and consists of a so-called matrix dosimetry. To sum up there are 1020 dosimetries for x rays located on a square of 24 centimetres side, dimensions which have been calculated on the base of the largest dimensions of a human tumour” explains Roberto Cirio, responsible for Infn of Matrix project and researcher of Infn Turin section. “Dosimetries are nothing else that particles detectors, in principal analogous to the ones used for the experiments of nuclear and subnuclear physics. As in radiotherapy x rays- (high-energy photons) are used, and it is impossible to detect them directly – what dosimetries detect are electrons, which are produced when x rays interact with the material of the dosimetries themselves”.

MatriXX is therefore a sort of “simulated patient” that before the operation substitutes the real patient, allowing the specialists to verify that everything is working in the best way. The instrument has overcome tests in different hospitals and now is being commercialized by the Scanditronix-Wellhöfer: there are in fact more than 50 prototypes used in the radiotherapy departments of different countries in the world. Up to now only other two instruments worked as MatriXX: they were developed in U.S. and in Germany. The instrument developed with the Infn collaboration presents although some innovative characteristics in comparison with these two, such as a better resolution and a better reading speed. “MatriXX, result of the collaboration among a pure research centre, the medicine world and an industrial reality, has reached fully its scientific, clinical and economical aims”, says Roberto Petronzio, Infn President.

_
The complete programme of Turin meeting is available at the website http://www.asp.torino.it/MatriXX.html


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