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Bhabhatron

Milestones

  • 2005- Bhabhatron-I The first unit of Bhabhatron  commissioned at (ACTREC), Navi Mumbai
  • 2006-Bhabhatron-II with additional features in terms of performance and safety commissioned.
  • 2009- Bhabhatron-II unit donated to Vietnam through the PACT initiatives of the IAEA commissioned at Can Tho Oncology Hospital
  • 2011- Indigenous Radiotherapy Simulator commissioned successfully.
Bhabhatron-II
Bhabhatron-II

Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) has given high priority to health care, especially for cancer treatment. DAE has been funding cancer hospitals for cancer research and setting up of treatment facilities. Radioisotopes, produced in research reactors and power reactors in the country, are being used for diagnosis, treatment and sterilization of medical products. DAE has also been in developing tools and techniques for treating the killer disease. Bhabhatron, the indigenous telecobalt machine, is one of the successful products developed by Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Mumbai for cancer treatment.

Cancer is a major health problem in India. There are about 25 lakh cancer patients in the country. Every year, about eight lakh new cases are detected and more than five lakh patients died, due to this dreaded disease. Moreover, the cancer incidence in the country is expected to double in next 15 years. Established methods of cancer treatment are radiotherapy, surgery and chemotherapy. A majority of the patients need radiotherapy during the course of treatment. Being the most cost-effective, teletherapy using cobalt-60 is the most relevant method of cancer treatment in a developing country like India.

There are only about 430 teletherapy machines operating in the country. Many of them are old, needing immediate replacement. Most of the cancer treatment facilities are located in urban areas, while the vast rural areas remain untouched. Many states and most of the districts in the country do not have any teletherapy machine. Although, more than two-third of cancer patients need radiation therapy, only about one-third of them receive the therapy, due to the shortage of therapy units and urban-centric distribution of radiotherapy centres. This alarming shortage is due to the lack of affordable telecobalt machines. Therefore, there is an immediate need to increase the number of teletherapy units to at least three-fold. Bhabhatron was developed to meet the growing demand for affordable high-performance telecobalt machine.

For the safe and effective radiation therapy, it is necessary to plan and deliver the radiation beam accurately. Radiotherapy Simulator helps in identifying the organs at risk and in localizing the cancer-affected tissues. Simulator would also help in choosing the right radiation beam and aiming it at the target. Although, radiotherapy simulator is an essential tool for improving the quality of teletherapy, there is acute shortage of such machines in our country due to the high cost of the imported units and the lack of indigenous technology. In fact, many cancer hospitals with teletherapy units do not have radiotherapy simulator. Considering the growing incidence of cancer and the need for such devices, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre has successfully developed the technology for Radiotherapy Simulator.

In the conventional form, Radiotherapy Simulator is similar to an isocentric external beam therapy machine. It can reproduce the geometric movements of (external beam) radiotherapy machines. However, unlike a teletherapy machine that delivers high-energy radiation beams for treatment, a radiotherapy simulator uses diagnostic X-ray beams for imaging, either in radiography or fluoroscopy mode. The provision for varying the focus to axis distance (FAD) facilitates the simulator to adapt with different teletherapy machines including linear accelerator based therapy machines.

Radiotherapy Simulator

Radiotherapy Simulator

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