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Good News from GCCC Proton Center Equipment Commissioning: One Step Closer to Proton Therapy for Cancer Patients of the Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao Area

release time:2021-10-27Click-through rate:

Good news has come from the GCCC Proton Center. During the proton system commissioning, the measured Bragg peak of the proton beam met the technical requirements, showing the good working state of the accelerator and beam transmission line.

Bragg peak of GCCC Probeam proton therapy system

With the beam transport system guiding the proton beam into the treatment rooms, the focus of the Proton Center will now shift to the beam positioning in the treatment room while completing commissioning and verification of the whole system. According to plan, GCCC Proton Center will receive the first patient in mid-2022.

Accurate Elimination of Cancer Cells through Proton Therapy

Surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy are the major treatment methods for malignant tumors. Proton therapy is known as the "pearl in the crown" of tumor radiotherapy.

The rigging of the superconducting cyclotron of the proton system

Due to the physical properties of traditional photon and electron beams for radiotherapy, the rays not only kill cancer cells but also cause damage to normal cells. In order to reduce the damage of radiation to normal cells, the total dose of radiation has to be strictly limited, which reduces the benefits of radiotherapy.

Proton therapy is a cancer treatment technology that takes advantage of the physical characteristics of the "Bragg peak" energy transfer process of high-energy proton beams in human tissue. After the high-energy proton beam enters the body, the energy is gradually transferred to tissue and a large amount of energy will be released at the end of its range. After this release, the energy will quickly drop to zero. This peak of energy release is called the "Bragg peak".

Based on this physical characteristic, the proton beam "Bragg peak" concentrates more radiation dose in the tumor site. The irradiation of normal cells in front of the tumor, including the skin, is small, while the dose of normal cells adjacent to the tumor remains minimal. Therefore, proton therapy can deliver a higher dose at the tumor site while protecting the normal cells around the cancer location.  This technique thus overcomes one of the major shortcomings of traditional radiotherapy and the benefit of comprehensive treatment is improved.

Electron, X-ray and proton beams.

Only Proton Beams Have a Bragg Peak

Compared to foreign countries, the implementation of proton therapy has started late in China. At present, there are few medical institutions that can provide proton therapy in China. In the past few years, tumor patients have gone abroad to seek proton therapy, though the cost is high.

At present, two proton therapy centers are under construction in the Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao Great Bay Area, of which Guangzhou Concord Cancer Center is making rapid progress. The Proton Center of Guangzhou Concord Cancer Center has installed the world's leading Varian ProBeam multi-chamber proton treatment system, equipped with four rotating gantry treatment rooms. The center is expected to accept the first treatment room in February 2022 and treat the first patient in the middle of 2022.

▲ The GCCC Proton Center is equipped with the world's leading
Varian ProBeam multi-chamber proton therapy system

Guangzhou Concord Cancer Center is a new cancer hospital of mixed ownership. The GCCC Proton Center has a strong medical team, among whom are senior radiotherapy experts. Dr. Matthew Callister has joined GCCC from the United States. Professor Fu Shen, Chief Scientist of the key research and development project of the Ministry of Science and Technology, has served as a member of the Advisory Committee of the MD Anderson proton center in the United States. Professor Li Zuofeng has served as the former Proton Center Chief Physicist of University of Florida. With the most advanced technology, GCCC Proton Center provides high-quality diagnosis and treatment services for patients.

Professor Qian Chaonan, President of Guangzhou Concord Cancer Center, has stated, “Guangdong Province has a population of more than 100 million people. Guangzhou has been designated as a regional center for medical care. Patients are eager for the coming availability of proton therapy technology in this region. Proton therapy technology not only benefit patients, but also will promote medical progress and the development of health industry in Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao Great Bay Area.”

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