At 9:30 am on September 8, in the Jinyinhu Campus of Union Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, a crane 10-storey high slowly lifted the 45-ton 360° rotating gantry from the ground and lower it into the treatment room. Since then, Asia & Pacific Region’s first ProBeam360° multi-room system for proton therapy was installed in the Proton Medical Center of Union Hospital, and the tumor diagnosis and treatment in Hubei Province as well as Central China started to enter a new era.
The Proton Medical Center of Union Hospital is located in its Jinyinhu Campus. The Center covers an area of around 50 mu (i.e. 10,000 square meters) with a construction area of 25,500 square meters, and intends to establish four therapy chambers and a laboratory. The proton therapy system is from Varian, including the ProBeam®360° Multi-room Scalable System, ARIA® Oncology Information System, Eclipse™ Treatment System and Halcyon Smart Radiotherapy Platform. The heart of the system is a superconducting cyclotron accelerator weighs 90 tons and produces proton beam that can kill tumor cells at the speed of over 160,000 kilometers per second. This ProBeam® 360˚ proton tumor system of Union Hospital is entirely integrated, with the characteristics of new-generation proton systems, such as 360˚ high-precision rotating gantry, ultra-high speed and high-precision pencil beam scanning technology, onboard dual-source CBCT imaging system, etc.
Prof. YANG Kunyu, Director of Clinical Oncology Department of Union Hospital, introduced that compared with the traditional photon radiotherapy, proton has a dose distribution curve of Bragg peak, and is highly efficient in the field of radiotherapy. It targets the tumor site precisely, i.e. proton beams can be directly delivered to a tumor site and released in a concentrated manner, thus minimize the damage to the normal tissues and organs around.
Proton therapy is expected to provide advanced treatment for patients with liver cancer, lung cancer, central nervous system cancer, skull base cancer, head and neck cancer, esophageal cancer, breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, childhood cancer and recurrent cancer. It is especially suitable for pediatric cancer patients to minimize toxicity of radiation to their normal tissues and organs’ development. The reduction of radiation doses and volumes to children’s healthy tissues and organs can also help to reduce long-term side effects, thus lower the incidence of secondary tumors.
Prof. ZHANG Yu, Chair of the Hospital Committee, said that the installment of this proton therapy system will accelerate the completion of Union Hospital’s Proton Medical Center project. After its application in the near future, the system will highly improve the level of tumor treatment in Hubei Province and even in Central China.