February 23, 2012 — Hitachi Ltd. announced that it entered into an agreement with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to provide its proton beam therapy (PBT) system. This technology has spot scanning capability for treating certain forms of cancer. The agreement includes PBT system maintenance for 10 years following completion of the systems’ installation.
The system will be installed at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. There will be three treatment rooms, two with rotating gantry systems and one with a fixed horizontal beam. The installed PBT system will be a compact design with a footprint approximately 40 percent smaller than that of conventional systems. Construction for facilities has begun and treatment using is expected to be offered in the fall of 2015.
William Evans, Pharm.D, CEO of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital said, “by bringing the technology to our campus, we will become the first center in the country offering this cutting-edge therapy solely for the purpose of treating children with brain tumors and other pediatric cancers. Currently, we ensure our patients needing this therapy receive it through collaboration with other institutions, but having the technology available here at St. Jude will enable a new level of service and convenience for our patients. In addition, it takes advantage of recent advances in the technology and will allow integration with our cutting-edge research programs.”
Tatsuro Ishizuka, vice president, executive officer, president and CEO of power systems company, Hitachi Ltd. said, "it is an honor to have our technology recognized and to be selected to provide our PBT system. We are especially proud of the fact that our system has been selected by the premier pediatric oncology hospital and will be dedicated to the treatment of children.”
PBT is an advanced type of radiation therapy used to treat adults and children with cancer. Protons, the atomic nucleus of hydrogen, are accelerated to high speeds and focused to deposit their energy in tumors. PBT has been shown to improve the quality of life for cancer patients since patients experience less radiation exposure to normal tissues and fewer side effects. In most cases, adults and children can continue with their normal daily activities while undergoing out-patient treatment.
Since the 1990’s, interest in proton beam therapy as a form of cancer treatment has been rapidly increasing in the United States, given the growing demand for more advanced and less detrimental treatment modalities, interest in proton therapy is on the rise, with more and more hospitals and cancer treatment facilities venturing into this area. In December 2007, for the first time in the United States, Hitachi cleared the FDA Premarket Notification Special 510(k) for spot scanning irradiation technology.