An advanced charged particle therapy for cancer is expected to be human friendly. It has excellent properties as a new radiotherapy that places fewer physical burdens on patients, and causes minimal damage to the patient's organs and physical form. It has a powerful therapeutic effect, especially on intractable cancers.
Our Center, as a leading research organization in this field, undertakes research and development for further advances and the worldwide spread of this type therapy.
Our center is organized into 4 research programs:
History of Radiotherapy at NIRS
|1961|| Radiotherapy started using x-rays, gamma rays and other modalities.|
|1975|| Fast neutron beam therapy with a cyclotron started.|
|1979|| Proton therapy started (∼2002, ocular tumor).|
|1984|| HIMAC project started.|
|1988|| HIMAC construction started, and was completed in 1993.|
|1994|| Clinical study of carbon ion radiotherapy (C-ion RT) with HIMAC |
|2003|| C-ion RT was approved as an advanced medicine by the Japanese |
|2004|| Research for a compact C-ion RT system started, and was completed |
Research and development for a next generation irradiation system
|2010|| The new particle therapy research facility was completed.|
|2011|| The number of patients exceeded 6,000.|
3D Scanning irradiation treatment with a new facility started.
The Hospital of our center is unique in its specialization in radiotherapy for cancer. It performs radiotherapy along with advanced medicine and clinical studies, mainly using radiotherapy and diagnosis. It also has a role as a tertiary hospital for radiation emergency medicine.
Medical consultation service
With increasing appreciation of the expertise of NIRS in advanced charged particle therapy, many requests for medical consultations on cancer therapy come from all regions of Japan. Please be aware that we are not yet fully staffed to serve the needs of international patients. For non-native Japanese patients, this will mean that you will need to secure the services of a personal interpreter during the course of your hospital visit. If you have difficulties to find a personal interpreter and to arrange a visit on your own, 'Medical Excellence JAPAN' provides an assistance service for patients from overseas. It is an organization supported by The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
http://www.medical-excellence-japan.org/ (Languages: English, Chinese and Russian)
Characteristics of Carbon ion beams
NIRS developed and constructed the world' s first heavy ion accelerator system for medical purposes and has used carbon ion beams. The charged particles (carbon ion) have an advantage of the relative biological effectiveness (RBE) and the oxygen enhancement ratio (OER) (Fig. 1).
Compared to photons and fast neutrons, which are characterized by an exponential absorption of dose with depth, ion beams demonstrate an increase in energy deposition with the penetration depth up to the sharp maximum at the end of their range, known as the Bragg peak. The particle range is determined by the energy of the incoming particles (Fig.2).
Charged particle (carbon ion) beams are ideal for radiotherapy, and have a greater therapeutic effect on cancer, while causing less damage to normal tissues. The primary principle of radiotherapy lies in precise localization of a sufficient dose in the target lesion, while minimizing damage to the surrounding normal tissues.
Dissemination of Research and Development
A compact C-ion RT system (about one third of the size of HIMAC) has reduced the construction and operation costs, and has made C-ion RT possible for wide-spread use. We have been providing support to Gunma University, Saga HIMAT, i-ROCK (Kanagawa), etc. We will continue to assume a central role in providing human resources, including radiation oncologists, clinical radiological technologists and medical physicists.
Compact C-ion RT facilities in Japan:
#1 Gunma university Heavy-Ion Medical Center started in March 2010.
#2 Saga HIMAT, under construction, will go into service in 2013.
#3 i-ROCK (Ion-beam Radiation Oncology Center in Kanagawa),
under construction, will go into service in 2015.
New Particle Therapy Research Facilities >>
(3D Scanning system)
NIRS, in collaboration with external research institutes and universities, is currently developing new technologies, including laser acceleration, and conducting research and development on therapeutic systems small enough to be installed in existing hospitals.
The HIMAC complex consists of heavy-ion accelerators and four irradiation ports, and can accelerate heavy ions up to approximately 80% of the speed of light.
There are only a few such heavy-ion accelerator complexes in the world, and a number of overseas researchers are interested in using heavy-ion beams produced by HIMAC for their research.
HIMAC is used for cancer treatments from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays, and provides heavy-ion beams for fundamental research at night and on weekends. These research projects involve biology, chemistry and physics as well as medical physics. To perform experiments, one may need to submit a proposal. Calls for proposals for conducting experiments using HIMAC are posted twice a year, and submitted proposals are reviewed by the Proposal Advisory Committee consisting of researchers from outside of NIRS so as to ensure fair judgment.
This program of soliciting outside heavy-ion research proposals began in October, 1994. Currently, more than 100 research proposals a year are submitted, resulting in over 60 papers a year, and the number of visiting researchers exceeds 500 per year. Many graduate students conduct experiments using HIMAC for their thesis, and NIRS plays important roles in educating young scientists.
More Information >> Research Project with Heavy Ions at NIRS-HIMAC