- Seoul National University Hospital signs a contract with Toshiba consortium

- Nearing the conquer of difficult - to - cure diseases, the "sharpshooter" of cancer therapy

Descrived as the "sharpshooter" of cacer cells by the journal Nature, a baryon accelerator with the best specs in the world is about to be launch its operation in Korea.

On August 31st 2020, Seoul National University Hospital(SNUH) had a contract signing ceremony with Toshaba-SK Medical Solution consortium regarding the baryon accelerator that is to be built in the Particle Therapy Center.

Designated as the institution for the particle therapy project by Ministry of Science and ICT, Busan metropolitan City and Gijang District, SNUH will begin running Busan & Giljang Particle Therapy Center in late 2024.

The contract signing ceremony took place remotely via Zoom due to COVID-19. From SNUH, major executives including President Kim Yeon-su, Vice-President Jung Seung-yong, and Baryon Accelerator Project Chief Woo HOng-Kyun. From the confortium party, Toshiba's CEO Hitajawa with other major figures, DK Medical Solutions'CEO Lee Chang-Kyu and Representative Director Lee Joon-hyuk attended among others.

Baryon accelerator is a therapy devide that projects onto cancer cells beams produced by accelerating carbon close to the sped of light. There are only 12 centers in the world equipped with this device. With its powerful ability to kill off tumors, it is now possible to treat cancers that have been difficult to cure. It protects normal cels as much as possible, delivering most of its radiation to cancer cells so that chances of side effects are minimized.

It is effective on main solid cancer such as lungcancer, liver cancer, pancreatic cancer, recurrent rectal cancer, osteosarcoma, and so on. For example, when treated with baryon therapy the 5-year survival rate for lung cacner tripled from 15.5% to 39.8%. With previous radiation technology, a patient had to visit the hospital for a baryon therapy session about a few dozen times within two or three weeks. With Baryon therapy, however, the number of therapy sessions dropped to 12 or less: one case of an early stage lung cancer even showed that only one session was enough to cuare the disease.

While dosage rate and geomeric field size are what determine the travel speed and scope of baryon beams in a baryon accelerator, the baryon accelerator to be built at Gijang Therapy Center will have a dosage rate of 4Gy/L/min and a geometric field size of 30cm x 40cm, both of which are biggest in the world. It will also be equipped with a small, superconducting rotary gentry of the highest technology. Rotary gentry allows for a 360 degrees rotation around the patient, so that baryon beams can be projected onto the patient from any angle. In previous devices, beam nozzles were fixed, and one had to move the patient's body around before injecting baryon rays into it.

Rotary gentry in previous devices were of 25m in length, 13m in diameter, and 500 tons in weight, taking up space comparable to a five-floor building., However, the new machine that SNUH signed contract for will be dramatically reduced in volume by using superconducting magnets, being just 11m in diameter and 280 toms in weight.

SNUH announced that they will do therapy and research using not just carbon alone, which is used as the energy beams in baryon acelerators, but by adding another iro source,helium.

According to Kim Yeon-su, President of SNUH, "Baryon therapy is the new paradigm for cancer treatment," and the implementation of SNUH's new therapy system is " a step into this new pradigm." He said," "We will also give our full investment into research work aside from patient therapy, and contribute to the society with our cancer therapy."

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