Innovative optical fibre technology advancing cancer treatment

1 Dec 2022
  • Top of page
  • Main text
  • More on this topic

European research project ORIGIN is developing innovative optical fibre technology to deliver more precise and effective brachytherapy for the treatment of prostate and gynaecological cancer.

Radiotherapy is the use of radiation for the treatment of cancer and 50 – 60 % of patients require radiotherapy at some point during their treatment. Radiation is delivered in the form of external beam radiotherapy, using X-rays to kill cancer cells, or internally, using radioactive sources, in what is known as brachytherapy.

Dr Sinéad O’Keeffe at the University of Limerick is leading a consortium of partners from across Europe, in developing novel technology that will monitor the radiation dose in real-time and map the precise location of the radioactive sources during brachytherapy treatment.

The Royal Society – Science Foundation Ireland University Fellow describes the clinical importance of this technology “Correct placement of the radiation source is vital to ensure adequate radiation to the target area (tumour), while ensuring minimum exposure to nearby critical organs, such as, in the case of prostate and gynaecological cancers, the bladder, urethra and rectal wall”. 

ORIGIN, which received €4.8 million in funding from the European Commission, is developing a new 16-point optical fibre based sensor system, which will lead to a 50% improvement in uncertainty over existing systems.

“The patient is at the centre of the project and we are passionate about improving patient outcomes. Working with the clinical partners, we can really see how the ORIGIN system can make a big difference to the way brachytherapy is delivered”

Find out more: