BNCT Boron Neutron Capture Therapy Innovative cancer therapy with tumor cell selectivity Neutron Boron(10B) BNCT

What is BNCT ?

Edited by Technical AdvisorTooru Kobayashi PhD

BNCT is a ...

  • It is a cancer treatment method that selectively destroys cancer cells.
  • It has a long history, with the first trials taking place in the 1950’s.
  • It is a beautifully simple therapy that involves 2 components.
  • The first is a chemical compound containing boron-10 (10B).
  • The second is an epithermal neutron beam.

BNCT - How does it work?

The boron compound(10B enriched) is injected into the patient through an IV.
The tumor cells take up this compound selectively, and in greater amounts than normal cells.

The ideal time to begin neutron irradiation is evaluated for each patient.
This is decided by the concentration 10B in tumor cells (higher is better) and in blood (lower is better),
additionally by its ratio of tumor to normal cell.

Epithermal neutrons are used in order to penetrate deeper within the body, slowing to thermal neutrons as they pass through the patient.
The 10B captures thermal neutrons, and the reaction results in an alpha particle and a lithium-7 (7Li) particle.

These two particles release a high amount of energy within a short range, roughly the size of one cell.
In this way, the cancer cells are destroyed while preserving nearby healthy cells, resulting in a truly selective therapy.

Why do we need BNCT?

An innovative treatment for intractable cancers

BNCT is an ideal therapy for recurrent and multiple tumors.

The position of BNCT 1)
  • 1) Pioneered by Japanese brainpower: New Horizons in Cancer Treatment, BNCT Promotion and Research Society, Osaka, 2015

Further benefits of BNCT

For cancer cells too small to be seen on images

BNCT is a truly selective therapy, working on a cellular level.
With BNCT, even the smallest tumor cell will absorb the boron and be destroyed, thus preventing the spread or recurrence of the cancer.

  • Early stages radiotherapy

  • IMRT* and particle therapy

  • BNCT

*IMRT:Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy

In many cases,
only a single treatment session is required

Compared to 10-30 treatment sessions for other beam therapies, this makes BNCT ideal for medical tourism.
It also allows patients to go about their daily lives with minimum interruptions.

Fixation devices are not required

BNCT does not rely on high-level positioning like x-ray therapy and proton therapy do. This provides patients with a more comfortable treatment session, while at the same time reducing the workload of hospital staff.

Accelerator- based neutron source

A neutron source that is safe, compact and effective

One that can be used anywhere, making it readily-available for everyone.

AcceleratorElectrostatic

  • Energy up to 2.6 MeV
  • Current up to 30mA
  • Compact and energy efficient machine

TargetLithium

  • Lithium requires protons over 1.89MeV to generate neutrons
  • Operation possible at 1.915 MeV for direct treatment, or at 2.6 MeV with a moderator

For research purposes only. Not approved by FDA or equivalent agency.

BNCT treatment potential

Applications of BNCT 2)

Current applications

Brain tumors 14.5% of all brain cases
Head and Neck tumors 33% of all H&N cases
Malignant melanoma 50% of all MM cases

Expected future applications

Lung tumors 1% of all lung cases
Breast tumors 6% of all breast cases
Liver tumors 1% of all liver cases

Estimated number of patients
suitable for BNCT (annually)

JAPAN 2)

Current applications

Brain tumors 2,600 patients
Head and Neck tumors 13,500 patients
Malignant melanoma 700 Patients
Total 16,800 patients

Expected future applications

Lung cancer 1,800 patients
Breast cancer 5,000 patients
Liver tumors 500 patients
Total 7,300 patients

Worldwide3)

Current applications

Brain tumors 37,100 patients
Head and Neck tumors 226,500 patients
Malignant melanoma 116,100 patients
Total 379,700 patients

Expected future applications

Lung cancer 18,200 patients
Breast cancer 100,300 patients
Liver tumors 7,800 patients
Total 126,300 patients
  • *Figures estimated based on references below:
  • 2) 平成26年12月 BNCT(ホウ素中性子捕捉療法)実用化推進と拠点形成に向けた検討会議.
    (BNCT (Boron Neutron Capture Therapy) Toward Commercialization & Facility Establishment.),
    Osaka Government & Kyoto University, Osaka, 2014
  • 3) GLOBOCAN 2012: Estimated Cancer Incidence, Mortality and Prevalence Worldwide in 2012.
    International Agency for Research on Cancer, WHO, 2012
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