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BNCT, a new-generation radiation treatment, is effective in advanced head and neck cancer
Date:3/4/2011

Biologically targeted BNCT treatment is based on producing radiation inside a tumour using boron-10 and thermal neutrons. Boron-10 is introduced into cancer cells with the help of a special carrier substance (phenylalanine), after which the tumour is irradiated with lowenergy neutrons. The latter react with the boron to generate high-LET radiation, which may destroy the cancer cells. One to two BNCT treatment sessions may be sufficient to destroy a tumour, while keeping the impact of radiation on surrounding healthy tissue to a minimum.

A research reactor is currently used as the neutron source, but dedicated neutron accelerators being designed for BNCT.

Clinical trials to assess the efficacy and safety of BNCT in the treatment of locally recurrent head and neck cancer have been carried out at the Department of Oncology at Helsinki University Central Hospital (HUCH). Apart from palliative chemotherapy, conventional treatment was no longer considered possible for the patients treated in the BNCT trials.

A total of 30 patients referred to HUCH's Department of Oncology from hospitals around Finland took part in the trial. 76% of patients responded well to the treatment and 30% were still alive two years after treatment; although only one patient has survived 55 months. The results of the study, conducted by Professor Heikki Joensuu, have recently been published in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics.

BNCT treatment is provided by Boneca Corporation, which is based at the main campus of Helsinki University Central Hospital and is the world's only provider of radiation safetyaudited BNCT treatment. Owned by Clinical Research Institute HUCH Ltd, Sitra, Finnish Innovation Fund, and VTT Ventures Ltd., Boneca works closely with HUCH's Department of Oncology, and treatment-related decisions are taken jointly with the hospital's otolaryngology, radiation therapy and oncology specialists. Boneca is
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Contact: Dr. Seppo Pakkala
seppo.pakkala@hus.fi
358-505-596-549
University of Helsinki
Source:Eurekalert

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