To promote the practical use of Boron Neutron Capture Therapy (BNCT), a jointuse medical center tentatively named the Kansai BNCT Medical Research Center is scheduled to be established in Osaka in 2019. The new facility will promote collaborative research between hospitals and universities, including Osaka Medical College, Kyoto University Research Reactor Institute, Osaka Prefecture University, and Osaka University.
BNCT is a form of radiotherapy that selectively destroys cancer cells through the administration of boron compounds which accumulate in cancer cells, irradiating the cancerous region with neutrons. The treatment uses heavy particle beams generated by the nuclear reaction of boron and neutron that travel only the distance of one cell’s diameter. BNCT can selectively destroy cancer cells with little damage to adjacent healthy cells, and shows promise for the next generation of cancer treatment as it is anticipated that it can be used for cancers which have been difficult to treat with conventional radiotherapies.
As of May 2014, the Kyoto University Research Reactor Institute (KURRI) had administered 510 BNCT treatments for target cancers including malignant brain tumors and head and neck cancers using neutrons produced by the Kyoto University Research Reactor. BNCT clinical studies using reactor neutron sources have shown that, as a new radiotherapy modality, BNCT can be effective for the treatment of locally recurrent tumors after radiation therapy. Such tumors have been difficult to treat with conventional radiotherapies. To facilitate the wider use of BNCT, KURRI has successfully developed a BNCT irradiation system using small-scale accelerator-driven neutron sources which can be installed in existing hospitals. The institute began clinical trials of BNCT for recurrent malignant brain tumors in 2012, and for head and neck cancers in 2014.
The establishment of the new joint research center will enhance collaboration with Osaka Prefecture University, promoting boron compound research and development, and also with Osaka University, which has advanced capabilities in PET examination. Such collaboration will accelerate efforts toward the practical use of BNCT.
- Minoru Suzuki, MD, PhD
- Professor, Particle Radiation Oncology Research Center, Kyoto University Research Reactor Institute (KURRI)
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