A Japanese cancer specialist said on Wednesday she is clinically testing a new cure for breast cancer. The treatment called “heavy ion radiotherapy” is strong, fast and non-surgical, doctors say.
The National Institute of Radiological Sciences has begun the trial using “heavy ion radiotherapy” which emits a pinpoint beam that can be accurately directed at malignant cells, said Kumiko Karasawa, radiation oncologist and breast cancer specialist.
“We are able to conduct this trial because we have greater understanding of what types of breast cancer can benefit from this pinpoint treatment,” Karasawa said, adding that this treatment is effective in other forms of cancer that have not spread, such as prostate and lung cancer.
The regular radiotherapy based on X-rays and gamma rays is potent at the surface of the skin, but it weakens as it goes deeper into the tissue, while heavy ion radiotherapy maintains its intensity to a greater depth, the international press reports.
In her study, Karasawa will include 20 patients aged at least 60 and with small tumours that have not spread. The women will be treated one hour per day for only four days, compared to months of treatment using traditional radiotherapy. Then, the patients will be supervised for five years to assess the outcome, Karasawa said.
“Ultimately, this could provide an option for patients who do not want surgery and who cannot go through (common radiation therapy) requiring regular visits to clinics for months,” she said.
Japan hosts three of the world’s six medical centres that have the gigantic Y10 billion ($97.2 million) facilities, according to Karasawa.