Magnetically enhanced protection of bone marrow from beta particles emitted by bone-seeking radionuclides: Theory of application

Raymond R. Ravlman, Richard L. Wahl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Utilization of radiopharmaceuticals that directly target radioactivity to tumors for treatment has a great deal of promise. Ideally, lethal doses of radiation could be delivered precisely to areas of disease, while, for the most part, sparing normal tissues. This potential, however, has not yet been fully realized. Current limitations of this approach are low tumor uptake of radiopharmaceuticals and dose-limiting radiotoxicity. In an effort to offset low uptake, radionuclides that emit high average-energy electrons have been proposed. Unfortunately, use of these radionuclides increases myelosuppression on a per decay basis. In order to allow for the utilization of high doses of this class of high-energy beta emitters, we propose the application of a strong static homogeneous magnetic field to constrain the beta particles. Monte Carlo computer simulations indicate that application of a 10 T magnetic field can decrease the total radiation dose from bone-avid tracers to marrow located in shafts of human long bones by 14%. More significantly, however, the penetration depth of high-energy electrons from the bone surface into the marrow can be reduced by up to 74.6%. Preservation of marrow in areas distal to the bone has previously been shown to facilitate relatively rapid recovery from pancytopenia produced by radiation damage to trabecular marrow (without marrow transplantation). Magnetically enhanced protection of bone marrow, therefore, may allow administered doses of high-energy beta-emitting radionuclides to be increased. By raising the limits on injected quantities of such highly ionizing radionuclides, amounts of the radiation dose absorbed by both soft and calcified tissue tumors will be increased, compared to conventional treatments. Hence, it is possible that this technique will, in part, aid in the realization of the promise of radionuclide therapy by permitting the delivery of therapeutic levels of radiation exposure to tumors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1285-1292
Number of pages8
JournalMedical physics
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • bone marrow dosimetry
  • magnetic fields radionuclide therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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