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Russia Successfully Uses Accelerator-Based Neutron Source for Cancer Therapy

March 16, 2016 (EIRNS)—An accelerator-based neutron source has been used for successful cancer treatment, Alexei Khadayev of the Russia & India Report (RIR) reported today. An accelerator-based neutron source at Novosibirsk was used by researchers belonging to Russia’s Institute of Nuclear Physics, and Japanese neurosurgeons from the University of Tsukuba in early March. The scientists say the targeted therapy method could be used even for tumor types that do not respond to other treatment; for example, glioblastoma, a common form of brain tumor, with an average life-expectancy after diagnosis of just over a year, Khadayev wrote.

Boron Neutron Capture Therapy (BNCT) is a binary radiation treatment modality based on nuclear reactions between thermal neutrons and stable isotope boron-10 concentrated primarily in cancer cells. The modus operandi for the delivery of high linear energy transfer (LET) radiation (particles and lithium-7) to tumors at the cellular level, while avoiding unnecessary dose deposits to healthy tissue, was known. However, as of now, most BNCT studies and clinical treatments have been performed by using research reactors that have always produced various neutrons from a nuclear fission chain reaction. Since these reactors are difficult to install in hospitals, and have other logistical difficulties, researchers are seeking a compact way to use the BNCT in hospitals and clinics.

The article said the Japanese brought new, more efficient boron-containing drugs for therapy to Siberia. The promising agents were added to the culture of tumor cells. After that, the Siberian physicists irradiated them with neutrons in their installation. The use of an accelerator was a success. However, neurosurgeon Dr. Kei Nakai, at the University of Tsukuba, told RIR that a requirement for making the method a success, would be development of compact and safe accelerators.