May 07, 2015
Sumitomo Heavy Industries, Ltd. (President and CEO: Shunsuke Betsukawa; hereinafter referred to as “SHI”) today announces that it has signed a contract with GREEN HOSPITAL SUPPLY, INC (President and COO: Hirotaka Ogawa) to supply a proton therapy system at Social Medical Corporation Kouseikai Takai Hospital (Chairman and CEO: Shigeo Takai; hereinafter referred to as “Takai Hospital”) in Tenri City, Nara Pref.
The new proton therapy system has one gantry treatment room in the vertical arrangement with a short length compact gantry (hereinafter referred to as “Vertical arranged proton therapy system*1). This facility will be the 3rd vertical arranged proton therapy system in Japan*2 . Thanks to vertical arranged proton therapy system, the required footprint to install a proton therapy system is reduced and Takai Hospital is able to install the system in a small area. The vertical arranged proton therapy system allows an optimum facility arrangement adjacent to the existing PET diagnosis and radiation treatment section. This system employs SHI’s Multi-purpose nozzle*3 which offers both conventional broad beam irradiation and pencil beam scanning, and each irradiation modality can be selected without change of any component depending on target diseases.
Proton therapy is a kind of radiotherapy using accelerated protons, which are the nuclei of hydrogen atoms, to a high energy level before irradiation and concentrating dose on cancer cells. Since damages on healthy tissues in the vicinity of the cancer cells are minimized, it is possible to provide therapy with few side effects. Unlike surgical procedures, this is a gentle and noninvasive treatment that allows patients to be treated as outpatients and for this reason it is attracting attention around the world.
About Social Medical Corporation Kouseikai
Social Medical Corporation Kouseikai operates Takai Hospital located in Tenri City near from Nara City which is the ancient capital and Kashiba Asahigaoka Hospital located in Kashiba City, Nara Pref. In addition to them, Social Medical Corporation Kouseikai became a designated manager of Tenri Municipal Medical Center from the spring of 2014. Social Medical Corporation Kouseikai has contributed greatly to the regional healthcare. At Takai Hospital, advanced medical equipment has been installed actively, especially both areas of imaging diagnosis and radiation therapy. This proton therapy system project is regarded as the most important project after opening a new main building in August, 2014.
SHI delivered the first proton therapy system in 1998 to National Cancer Center Hospital East, which was the first hospital-based proton therapy facility in Japan and the second in the world. The facility has kept stable operation over 16 years. From the autumn of 2014, clinical treatment was started at Aizawa Hospital whose proton therapy system is the first vertically arranged proton therapy system in the world, and from the latter half of 2015, clinical treatment will be started at Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Taiwan and Samsung Medical Centre in Korea. This order for Takai Hospital is the 7th facility with SHI’s proton therapy system. Other facilities are under preparation for the commencement of treatment. SHI will continue to contribute towards the wide use of proton beam therapy for cancer treatment around the world, in collaboration with the customers.
1. Features of Proton Therapy
One of the promising therapeutic methods against cancer is proton therapy. A proton beam is obtained by accelerating the proton, the atomic nucleus of hydrogen, to high energy level. One of the features of proton therapy is the optimal dose distribution in the human body. Proton beam's Bragg Peak*4 makes this radiation very effective for the targeted irradiation of the tumor with lower side effects to surrounding healthy tissues.
2. Proton Therapy System
The proton is accelerated to 230MeV*5 by using a Cyclotron. The Cyclotron enables a short treatment time with high dose rate and provides a continuous beam which is preferable for respiration gating irradiation because the beam can be delivered to a patient at any possible time.
[Beam Transport System]
The proton accelerated by the Cyclotron is adjusted to the energy amounts planned for each patient and transported through the Beam Transport System to a Gantry Treatment System.
[Gantry Treatment System]
The targeted tumor can be irradiated from 360 degree angles by using a rotating gantry without uncomfortable postures for each patient. The Gantry Treatment System is equipped with a rotating gantry, an irradiation nozzle, an X-ray digital radiography system, and a treatment couch. The proton beam passing out of the rotating gantry is formed by the irradiation nozzle in shapes corresponding to the tumor.
[Vertical Arranged Proton Therapy System]
Allocating the Cyclotron at a lower floor and the rotating gantry at an upper floor, and connecting them with a vertical beam line allows for a smaller footprint to install a proton therapy system.
*1: Patent number: 5373220 & 5437527
*2: The first vertical arranged proton therapy system is Aizawa Hospital located in Matsumoto, Nagano Pref. and the second one is TEISHINKAI Hospital located in Sapporo, Hokkaido Pref.
*3: Patent number: 05107113
*4: Bragg Peak is a physical characteristic specifically available in a charged particle such as proton and not available in x-rays, which are used for conventional photon radiotherapy. The proton enters into the body with a relatively low dose and deposits energy at a predetermined depth and then vanishes at the depth.
*5: MeV: Mega Electron Volts. Electron volt (eV) is a unit of energy. One million eV is equivalent to 1MeV.