Using a simple concept and a patented sensor that detects radioactive materials, a team has developed a patch to stop damage to healthy tissue during proton radiotherapy, one of the best tools to target certain cancerous tumors. The imaging patch makes it easier to deliver a precise dose to the right location.

The team paired the sensor with a polymer and electrodes, attached them to a layered material that looks like a bandage and added adhesive. They say that the polymer, known more commonly as a plastic or resin, is ionized after the proton interacts with it. The electrodes then feed the charge back to an amplifier, detecting the beam intensity and precise location in real time. That stops the radiation if the beam is off target and records the information to determine which tissues the radiation penetrated and at what levels.

Adding artificial intelligence and machine learning tools to the technology may lead to advanced algorithms for treatments. By analyzing the data being gathered by the patch, the sensor can provide more accurate beam profiles that help better differentiate between cancerous and healthy tissue. This can further enhance the efficacy of the treatment and prevent excessive radiation treatments.