FOR SEVERAL decades, attempts have been made to use total-body radiation as a form of cancer therapy. Originally, low-energy x-rays were used, as well as radium, which was administered both as an external and an internal radiation source.1-3 Since the invention of the cyclotron, and later, the development of the nuclear reactor, artificial radionuclides have been available for this type of therapy, and the reports of therapeutic applications of the internally administered radionuclides P32, Na24, K42,I131, Au198, and others, are too numerous to list as references.
Until fairly recently, there were many limitations to the use of high-energy rays in delivering a uniform dose of total-body radiation. Thirty years ago, Heublein1 reported the design and use of a radiation room in which patients were "bathed" with moderately energetic x-rays from a distantly placed radiation therapy unit. Within the past 15 years,