Neutron Therapeutics to Install Its BNCT Cancer Therapy System into Japan’s Largest Private Hospital Chain

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Neutron Therapeutics, Inc (NTI) has agreed with Tokushukai Medical Group (TMG) to install a nuBeam system for Boron-Neutron Capture Therapy (BNCT) at Shonan Kamakura General Hospital (SKGH) in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. Developed by NTI and having roots in technology originating at MIT, nuBeam is the world’s most powerful accelerator-based neutron source designed specifically to deliver this cutting-edge form of cancer radiotherapy.

The nuBeam Suite

We have chosen NTI as our BNCT equipment provider because we recognize their global leadership in the development of practical and reliable BNCT solutions.

NTI and nuBeam are positioned to transform the ($1T) global cancer therapy market. BNCT is a powerful alternative to traditional radiotherapy and proton therapy. BNCT delivers targeted radiation to cancer cells and spares surrounding healthy tissue. NTI’s unique and patented neutron source replaces large/expensive nuclear reactors in legacy BNCT research platforms. Based on industry leading innovations and engineered from the ground up for high reliability and ease of maintenance, NTI’s platform can enable the widespread adoption of BNCT. This will be NTI’s second nuBeam installation. The first is now under commissioning at Helsinki University Hospital in Finland. TMG will house the nuBeam system in their new Comprehensive Cancer Center, which is currently under construction at SKGH.

BNCT has demonstrated compelling responses for some of the most difficult to treat cancers, including recurrent head and neck cancers and glioblastoma, and has been successful in treating cancer patients for whom other treatment options have been exhausted. Typical BNCT protocols utilize two patient treatments vs. dozens for conventional radiotherapy, reducing stress on patients while enhancing treatment center efficiency and patient throughput.

In BNCT treatment, a boron carrier compound injected into the blood stream is selectively absorbed by tumor cells. The tumor is irradiated with a therapeutic neutron beam. The neutron beam reacts with the boron, while safely passing through normal tissue. The boron reaction produces highly excited alpha particles of very short path lengths (5–9 µm) that destroy tumor cells from the inside with minimal effect on immediately surrounding healthy cells.

Prior to NTI’s nuBeam, the lack of neutron sources suitable for hospital environments have limited the adoption of BNCT. NTI’s nuBeam system is the first clinical installation in the world expected to meet all the performance recommendations of the IAEA for BNCT. nuBeam’s revolutionary design is the result of years of R&D effort by NTI’s technology team enabling unparalleled efficiency and neutron beam quality. nuBeam has a unique, patented electrostatic accelerator design and proprietary rotating solid lithium target technology, which result in a system with unprecedented value and reliability.

TMG is headquartered in Tokyo. It operates over 350 medical and welfare facilities including 71 hospitals in Japan, making it Japan’s largest private hospital group. TMG adheres to the philosophy that “all living beings are created equal,” and its mission is to build a society with no regional differences, where any patient can receive the best medical care anytime, anywhere. This approach drives TMG to seek out the latest technological and clinical advances, including BNCT.

SKGH has a goal to build a next-generation hospital that offers world-class medical care across a broad spectrum of clinical fields. The addition of the new facilities will enlarge the hospital to 1.5 times its current size, enabling the treatment of all who seek care. SKGH physicians will build on Japan’s long history of leadership in BNCT, continuing to pioneer this powerful form of cancer therapy.

Takao Suzuki, Chairman of TMG: “We have chosen NTI as our BNCT equipment provider because we recognize their global leadership in the development of practical and reliable BNCT solutions. TMG has always practiced the philosophy: ‘never reject patients in need of emergency care.’ This Comprehensive Cancer Center will adopt a similar mantra: ‘never reject patients in need of cancer therapy.’”

Ted Smick, CEO of NTI: “We are excited to work with Tokushukai to bring nuBeam into the Japanese market. Their leadership in emerging modalities and their ability to serve a large patient population maximizes accessibility to the powerful benefits of BNCT across Japan.”

The nuBeam neutron source is not approved for commercial or clinical use by the FDA, PMDA, EMA or other regulatory body.

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Noah Smick
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