Toshiba to provide advanced cancer care system in South Korea
Cancer patients in South Korea will start receiving state-of-the-art heavy ion therapy at Severance Hospital as early as in 2022.
Japanese conglomerate Toshiba has signed a contract with Yonsei University Health Systems to provide heavy ion therapy system which is considered the best cancer treatment available for now.
The heavy-ion therapy system precisely irradiates cancerous cells by beams of carbon ions accelerated up to 70 percent of the speed of light. The equipment is expected to cost about 15 billion yen (141 million dollars) which seems justified by its promise in treating liver, lung and pancreatic cancers, which are difficult to treat with other types of radiotherapy.
Heavy ion which is 12 times heavier than the proton, increases the cancer cell death rate by three times that of the proton.
Introduced in 1994, over 20,000 cancer patients have received benefits from heavy ion therapies. World's renowned science academic journal- Nature called heavy ion therapies "sharpshooters."
However, there are only 10 heavy ion therapy systems in the world now. 5 with Japan, 2 with Germany, 2 with China and 1 with Italy. Austria is getting ready to acquire one, and China and Japan are planning to increase the quantity.
The advanced cancer care system, to be available at Severance Hospital, will have two rotating gantry rooms, the first in the world, and one horizontally-fixed beam treatment room.
The two rotating gantry rooms will enable physicians to shoot heavy ions to cancer tissues that might have been difficult to target with a conventional fixed system. With the machine, the hospital will be able to offer more efficient and excellent treatment for more cancer patients, YUHS said.
The new treatment system enables patients to maintain the posture precisely, minimizing the impact on surrounding healthy organs. Accordingly, the system reduces side effects significantly.