Cancer gel

Three scientists in the University of York’s Department of Chemistry have developed a gel that could spare cancer patients some of the unpleasant and dangerous side-effects of radiotherapy.


PhD students Andrew Wilson and Paul Watson, together with post-doctoral research fellow Mark Godber, have developed the gel which will help doctors to target cancer tumours more efficiently.


Now, the group has secured £30,000 under the Bioscience Yorkshire Enterprise Fellowship scheme to commercialise their idea.


Their product, a formulation of various chemicals, is a gelatine whose density is comparable with human tissue and can be tailored for different applications.


By testing the radiation beam on the gel first, radiologists can judge more accurately the precise dose needed to treat the tumour, enabling them to calibrate their machines accordingly.


Andrew Wilson said: “This technique should allow more rapid, accurate, and therefore safer treatment of malignant tumours.”


The team has already supplied samples of the gels to the Princess Royal Hospital in Hull and hope to go into commercial production soon.