Radiotherapy is one of the standard cancer therapies (surgical therapy, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy). With radiotherapy, the involved site is not resected and thus the form and function of the site can be preserved, and outpatients can receive the therapy without being hospitalized. However, there are also problems such as the development of side effects due to irradiation of the surrounding normal tissues depending on the shape of the tumor site and aggravation of side effects owing to irradiation of a broad area in the case of tumors that move inside the body. In order to overcome such problems, expectations have been placed on ion beam radiotherapy such as proton beam radiotherapy and heavy particle beam radiotherapy, both of which can reduce the volume of unnecessary radiation to normal tissues.
Our hospital has introduced the world’s first spot-scanning proton beam technology system, co-developed by our hospital and Hitachi, Ltd., and performs therapy using spot-scanning irradiation. Making use of the characteristics of proton beams that most of the energy is released at the lesion site and that they do not irradiate the area behind the lesion site, in this therapy a thin proton beam is moved from site to site and pinpoint irradiation of the tumors is performed. As a result, an adequate volume can be irradiated on large tumors as well as small tumors. Even if the shape of the tumor is complicated, the tumor can be irradiated with high precision according to its shape, leading to the minimum influence on normal tissues, and a reduction in secondary cancer can be anticipated. High expectations are being placed on proton beam therapy using the spot-scanning proton beam technology system as a mainstream next-generation radiation therapy.
Our hospital’s proton beam therapy center has introduced the spot-scanning proton beam technology system, which can irradiate a proton beam on moving tumors with high precision and provide appropriate proton beam therapy over a 360-degree range of motion. With the spot-scanning technology using this system, we can provide treatment for patients of all generations, from infants to the elderly.
Furthermore, because we have specialized in spot-scanning irradiation, we have been able to miniaturize the system and reduce its energy consumption compared to previous equipment, and this has enabled us to establish the system within the area of our university hospital. Since the area where the system is installed is directly connected to the university hospital via a passageway, this has enabled us to perform multidisciplinary practice and care in which front-line examinations and other treatments, such as anti-cancer drug therapy, surgery, and X-ray treatment, can be combined. In this way, we can provide total care while making use of proton beam therapy, and thus we expect that we can reduce the burden placed on patients and their families.
Our hospital has already researched and developed real-time tumor tracking radiation therapy which precisely irradiates cancers that move inside the body with respiration and the like, and we have been performing a number of treatments by applying it to the X-ray treatment of cancers that move with respiration, such as lung and liver cancer.
Moreover, we are currently developing a system that works as a real-time tumor tracking proton therapy system with molecular imaging, which can irradiate an appropriate volume on each tissue of cancers that move with respiration, in combination with our research and development of technologies such as spot-scanning radiation technology and molecular tracking technology, with which an appropriate volume is irradiated on each tissue by using PET scanning to pre-identify the area in the tumor that is difficult to treat with radiation. After the development of this system is complete, we plan to submit an application for approval to use the system as a medical device, and we plan to start the actual treatment after approval is granted.
Dr. Kiyohiro Houkin
Dr. Hiroki Shirato
Head of the Department of Radiology
Our hospital’s proton beam therapy center was established for the purpose of developing the world’s leading proton beam therapy system, co-developed by Hokkaido University and Hitachi, Ltd. under a research assistance program for promoting the latest research aiming to be the best in the world. The center is equipped with a unique, one-of-a-kind therapeutic system that improves problems associated with existing radiotherapy by combining real-time tumor tracking radiation therapy, which precisely tracks the delicate movement of the lesion, with proton beam therapy. We believe that the establishment of the center has enabled us to provide a “field of therapy” where the medical staff can realize the same hopes as the patients.
At our hospital, we practice cancer therapy in which patients can feel hope, while providing patient-centered medical care each and every day.
You should send a referral from your GP and related documents beforehand, and we will consider whether we can accept you as a patient. If acceptance is considered possible, we will ask you to make an appointment.
|Exterior View of Hokkaido University Hospital and Proton Beam Therapy Center (left)|
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Kita 14, Jonishi 5-chome, Kita-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido 060-8648
|36 minutes by Airport Express bus
from Shin Chitose Airport to
JR Sapporo Station,
then 15 minutes on foot from
JR Sapporo Station.