Benefits of Alpha Radiation for Cancer Treatment 

The Benefits of Alpha Radiation over Gamma and Beta Radiation

When we compare the use of alpha radiation to gamma and beta radiation in brachytherapy, we can see there are some clear advantages:


1. Short-range irradiation

The alpha particles’ primary benefit is their ability to deliver radiation in a highly localized manner.


2. High potency to destroy cancer cells

Alpha radiation provides a greater potential for biologic damage compared to gamma and beta radiation, causing complex double strand breaks in the cancer’s cells DNA. This damage has proven to be more likely irreparable.[v]


3. No oxygen needed

Alpha and beta particles do not require the presence of oxygen for therapeutic effect as they cause direct damage.


4. Quick Clinical Outcome

Radium-224 decays within 2-4 weeks due to its short half-life of fewer than 4 days. This means that clinical results can be achieved relatively fast. 50 percent of the radiation is delivered within about 4 days, 95 percent in about 2 weeks and over 99 percent after 4 weeks. 


Range of alpha, beta and gamma radiation

Image 10 - Alpha radiation does not require special shielding and treats cancer in a local and safe manner