Targeted Radiation Therapy with BNCT
A Promising Non-Invasive Therapy for Cancer Patients
Boron Neutron Capture Therapy (BNCT) is a unique type of radiation therapy that enables targeting of cancer at the cellular level. BNCT has been used to treat cancer with a non-invasive two-step process.* First, patients are injected with a tumor-seeking drug containing a non-radioactive isotope (boron-10) with a high neutron capture cross-section. In the second step, the patient is exposed to a beam of low energy neutrons, many of which are absorbed by the boron-10.
The absorption initiates a reaction that emits short-range, high-energy charged particles. Scientific studies** demonstrate that these particles systematically destroy the tumor cells while imparting relatively little damage to adjacent areas of healthy tissue.
Potential Benefits of BNCT
BNCT has the potential to greatly improve therapeutic outcomes by treating the primary tumor site as well as undetected metastases in local region of the tumor. Even tumors that are not candidates for surgery because of their location near sensitive biological structures can potentially be treated with BNCT.
BNCT can make the process of radiation treatment much less onerous for the patient. This is because the biologically targeted radiation is delivered primarily to the cancer cells, rather than the healthy tissue. The potential therefore exists to reduce side effects and improve patient quality of life compared to conventional radiotherapy.
Studies show that BNCT treatments can be carried out in one or two fractions,** as opposed to the 30 fractions that are typical of conventional x-ray and proton therapies. This can potentially make treatments easier and less costly for patients and healthcare providers alike.
* All BNCT treatments to date have been conducted under clinical investigations.
** Coderre and Morris (1999) The Radiation Biology of Boron Neutron Capture Therapy. Radiation Research: January 1999, Vol 151, No. 1, pp. 1-18.