Poly bags used as lifesavers p.

By: Mark Fitzgerald AKRON (OHIO) BEACON Journal orange poly newspaper bags are finding new lives giving cancer patients hope for new life.
An Ohio medical supplier has discovered that the Beacon Journals plastic newspaper sleeves are the perfect size for head and neck supports that can be customized for individual patients receiving radiation treatment.
Since the discovery, the oncology department at Duke University in Durham, N. C., has used the bags as part of a device that ensures radiation treatment is applied with pinpoint precision.
The unlikely role for the foul-weather poly bags was discovered when the Duke cancer treatment department asked Smithers Medical Products Inc. of Tallmadge, Ohio, to develop a neck support that could be customized to each patient.
Finding the proper support to keep patients still is important because the smallest movement could result in missing cancerous tissue while permanently damaging a healthy area with radiation.
As Smithers president Jeffrey Kostich was pondering the request, he happened to notice that the poly bag for that day's Beacon Journal appeared to be a perfect size for a support device.
A Smiters employee asked the newspaper if it could spare a few extra bats for experiments.
Carol Eubank, administrative assistant in research and promotion at the Beacon Journal, arranged to send over 100 poly bags and sent another 200 to Duke's cancer department.
The support device works this way: A medical technician places the poly bag under a patient's neck and fills the bag with a warm foam, which then expands and hardens to from a mold. A mold made from the sleeves can be used for repeated treatments, Kostich told the Beacon Journal.
He said some Duke technicians claim to be able to apply treatment to within on or two millimeters of the center of the targeted tissue, an extraordinary degree of accuracy.


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