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Shimadzu Corporation. (12/8/11). "Press Release: Hokkaido University and Shimadzu Corporation Develop New Real-time Tumor-tracking System for Next-generation High-precision Radiotherapy".

Region Region Japan
Organisation Organisation Shimadzu Corporation
  Group Shimadzu (Group)
Products Product RADIOPHARMACEUTICAL
  Product 2 X-ray technology
Person Person Nakamoto, Akira (Shimadzu 201504– Board Chairma before CEO)
     


Hokkaido University and Shimadzu Corporation Develop New Real-Time Tumor-Tracking System for Next-Generation High-Precision Radiotherapy to Achieve the Wide-Spread Use of Radiotherapy Capable of Pinpointing Radiation Only onto Cancerous Tissue Moving due to Respiration


Shimadzu Corporation (President: Akira Nakamoto) has partnered with Hokkaido University (President: Hiroshi Saeki) to commercialize new real-time tumor-tracking technology being researched by Professor Hiroki Shirato and Professor Masayori Ishikawa of Hokkaido University for use in next-generation high-precision radiotherapy. This joint development program has now successfully produced a prototype system.

Used in combination with an X-ray cancer treatment system, the system being developed enables pinpointing radiation only at cancerous tissue, while avoiding normal tissue, even when treating areas of the trunk that do not maintain a constant position or shape in a body due to respiratory movement, such as the lungs and liver. The group now plans to use the prototype to conduct various additional testing to further refine the system. Through Professor Shirato's involvement in a Super Cluster for Innovative Medical Treatment project (development of minimal risk radiotherapy devices), and through the support of the Hokkaido Organization for Translational Research, an organization that helps translate research work to commercialization, the system is scheduled for commercialization within the 2012 fiscal year. After introducing the system domestically in Japanese markets, the group intends to release the system in international markets as well.

Hokkaido University and Shimadzu will continue to strive to produce concrete results from their ongoing joint academia-industry collaborations aimed at providing advanced medical technologies to clinicians as early as possible by translating basic research results developed at the university into products and technology usable in a wide range of clinical applications.

Current Status of Treating Cancers with Radiation

Radiotherapy is one of the three main methods used to treat cancers, along with surgery and anticancer drugs. Since radiotherapy treatment causes almost no pain and no loss in body function or form, it enables achieving both treatment and a social life. Therefore, there is considerable interest in radiotherapy as a way to treat cancer while maintaining a quality of life.

There are two types of radiotherapy, X-ray treatment and particle beam treatment. Currently, X-ray accounts for about 90 % of treatment in Japan, with about 240,000 patients treated annually. X-ray treatment is popular overseas as well.

Though pinpoint irradiation can be used to treat tumors in areas that don't move, such as brain tumors, there has been significant need for technology that can locate and accurately irradiate, in real time, tumors in the trunk, such as the lungs and liver, which do not remain at a constant position due to significant vertical movement of the chest or abdomen corresponding to the respiratory cycle (respiratory movement).

Overview of the New Real-Time Tumor-Tracking Technology

The new real-time tumor-tracking technology solves the problems described above, by inserting a 2 mm gold marker in the vicinity of the tumor and using a CT scanner to determine the relationship between the marker and the center of the tumor. Next, X-ray fluoroscopy systems with pattern recognition technology are used from two directions to automatically identify the gold marker in the fluoroscopic images and repeatedly calculate its spatial position through each movement cycle. Then radiation is applied cyclically, only when the gold marker is within a few millimeters of the anticipated location. By repeating this process at high speed, for the first time in the world, it is now possible to highly precisely irradiate even tumors that are moving within a body. Consequently, this reduces the volume of irradiated tissue to 1/4 to 1/2 the volume of conventional methods used currently to irradiate the entire range of tumor movement resulting from the respiratory cycle, which enables significantly reducing the amount of normal tissue that is irradiated.

Previous Research by Hokkaido University

For over a half century, Hokkaido University has been developing technology for focusing radiation dosage at the tumor location, which is the most important aspect of radiotherapy. After successfully developing tumor-tracking technology that uses X-ray fluoroscopy to automatically locate a gold marker inserted near moving tumors, so that the area is irradiated only when the tumor arrives in an anticipated location, Professor Shirato of the Graduate School of Medicine has continued to produce additional results at the Hokkaido University Hospital since 1999 that have attracted attention from around the world. Since 2006, Professor Ishikawa has been researching enhancing and expanding the functionality of the system.

Overview of the New Real-Time Tumor-Tracking System Under Development

The system determines the position of tumors in organs that move due to respiratory movement, or other causes, in real time and instructs the X-ray treatment system when to emit or stop X-ray beam irradiation during treatment. The system consists of an X-ray tube, X-ray detector, X-ray high voltage generator, synchronization control system, and real-time tumor-tracking system.

Commercialization will result in compatibility with multiple markers and even more detailed information regarding tumor position, which will further increase the precision of pinpoint irradiation. Making additional improvements to the X-ray tube and X-ray detector supports will enable smoother tracking of moving tumor positions. In addition to a model with an image intensifier as the detector, a model with a flat panel detector is planned to be offered as well.

Business Development by Shimadzu

Ever since Shimadzu delivered Japan's first X-ray device in 1909, Shimadzu has been manufacturing and selling medical systems in Japan and throughout the world. In recent years, Shimadzu has also been focusing efforts not only in diagnostic fields using diagnostic imaging systems, but also in medical treatment applications, such as endovascular therapies using angiography systems for cardiac or cerebrovascular, and in treatment support applications in orthopedic fields using X-ray fluoroscopy systems with state-of-the-art application technologies.

Previously, Shimadzu supported Professor Shirato's research by providing X-ray tubes and other components, but last year an agreement was made to commercialize the new real-time tumor-tracking system. Since then, development has been progressing toward entering the field of X-ray cancer treatment.

Looking ahead, the group aims to commercialize the system by fiscal 2012 through Professor Shirato's involvement in a Super Cluster for Innovative Medical Treatment project (development of minimal risk radiotherapy devices) and through the support from the Hokkaido Organization for Translational Research, an organization that helps translate research works to commercialization. After introducing the system domestically in Japanese markets, the group intends to release the system in international markets as well.

By combining the outstanding technologies, expertise, and experience available respectively from Hokkaido University and Shimadzu to develop this new real-time tumor-tracking system and popularize its use throughout the world, the group hopes to make a significant contribution to advanced radiation medicine and cancer treatment, which provide superior quality of life for patients.

   
Record changed: 2019-06-09

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