News - Fiscal 2016
Samsung Medical Center starts Proton Therapy

May 25, 2016

Sumitomo Heavy Industries, Ltd. (President and CEO: Shunsuke Betsukawa; hereinafter referred to as “SHI”) today announces that Samsung Medical Center (hereinafter referred to as “SMC”) in Seoul, Korea has commenced proton therapy*1 and the opening ceremony was held on May 3, 2016.

The new proton therapy facility is equipped with cyclotron*2, which generates continuous and high intensity proton beam, and two rotating gantries. The facility has a provisional room that makes it possible to add the third treatment room with a rotating gantry in the future. The facility has two types of irradiation nozzle system, such as a multi-purpose nozzle in G1 treatment room and a dedicated scanning nozzle in G2 treatment room. The multi-purpose nozzle offers both conventional broad beam irradiation*3 and the advanced Pencil Beam Scanning (“PBS”), and each irradiation mode can be switched at random depending on target diseases. The dedicated scanning nozzle offers PBS for large field (Maximum 40 cm x 30 cm). The broad beam treatment in G1 room was started in December, 2015 and the PBS treatment in G2 room was started in March, 2016.

PBS delivers narrow proton beams to the targeted cancer tissue conforming to the shape of tumor and enables complex tumors to be irradiated precisely, while concentrating high dose and minimizing side effects for surrounding healthy tissues. In comparison with the broad beam irradiation, preparation prior to treatment is easier and the consumable cost for patient’s specific compensators and collimators can be decreased by PBS. Line scanning technology (“Line Scanning”), which is one of the PBS technologies, irradiates proton beams continuously in stable beam current for each layer with change of scanning speed. Irradiation time by Line Scanning is shorter than that by spot scanning irradiation*4 which irradiates proton beams intermittently.

The world’s first patient treatment with Line Scanning was started in National Cancer Center Hospital East (Kashiwa, Japan) in October, 2015, and Aizawa Hospital (Matsumoto, Japan) following in March, 2016. In SMC, treatment with SHI’s first dedicated scanning nozzle was started for pediatric CSI (Craniospinal irradiation) patient, taking advantage of large field capability and combination of multi field irradiation.

Youngyih Han, PhD., Professor, Medical physicist and project manager of SMC proton project, comments:
“Clinical effectiveness and expansion of diseases sites for proton therapy has been reported. Proton therapy is a state of the art radiation therapy which can increase the cure rate while minimizing the normal tissue toxicity. Therefore, facilities introducing proton therapy have been ramped up all over the world and the demand is expected to grow. On the other hand, further technical research & development and professional human resource development for proton therapy is essential. SMC is aiming to become an Asian leading facility of research & development and education & training in collaboration with SHI.”

About SMC
SMC (Total beds: 2,000) established in 1994 is one of the leading hospitals in Korea. SMC provides best medical care based on the patient focused concept with the excellent medical staffs as well as the state of the art medical infrastructure and promotes global treatments, research and education.

About SHI
SHI has been continuing the research and development for medical use with accelerators, such as cyclotron, for over 40 years. In 1997, SHI delivered the first proton therapy system to National Cancer Center Hospital East in Japan, which was the first hospital-based proton therapy facility in Japan and the second in the world. The facility has kept stable operation over 17 years. Since then, SHI proton therapy systems were delivered (or planned to be delivered) to seven facilities in Japan, Taiwan and Korea. SHI will contribute towards the wide use of proton therapy for cancer treatment around the world in collaboration with our customers.

*1 Proton Therapy
Proton therapy is one of the promising therapeutic methods against cancer. 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 makes this radiation very effective for the targeted irradiation of the tumor with lower side effects to surrounding healthy tissues. 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. Proton therapy is reported to be adopted for the treatment of cancer in head/neck, lung, liver, esophagus, prostate, etc. from existing facilities in the world.

*2 Cyclotron
Cyclotron is one of circular accelerators and generate protons, accelerating hydrogen nuclei up to 60 % of the speed of light. The Cyclotron enables a short treatment time and hypo-fractionation with high dose rate, and provides continuous beams which are preferable for Line Scanning and respiration gated irradiation for moving target such as lung, liver, etc.

*3 Broad beam irradiation
Broad beam irradiation is conventional technique of proton therapy. Uniform proton beams are irradiated by molding to the shape of the target tumor by the patient specific collimator and compensator.

*4 Spot scanning irradiation
Spot scanning is one the PBS techniques. Target tumor is divided to a few thousand micro regions and is irradiated homogeneously with small spot beams from the deepest one by changing the position.

Grand opening ceremony (May 3, 2016)