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Vol. LXVII, No. 14
July 3, 2015
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NCI Staff Help Open Shanghai Proton Heavy Ion Center

NCI’s Dr. Norman Coleman speaks at the opening of the new proton center.

NCI’s Dr. Norman Coleman speaks at the opening of the new proton center.

Two NCI scientists were on hand recently for the opening of the Shanghai Proton Heavy Ion Center, supported by the city of Shanghai, China, and Fudan University.

Dr. Norman Coleman, associate director of NCI’s Radiation Research Program, gave an address during a ceremony that included transfer of particle therapy equipment from Siemens to Chinese authorities. He emphasized the need for research and collaboration.

Also attending was Dr. Mansoor Ahmed, acting chief of NCI’s Molecular Radiation Therapeutics Branch and program director for the Radiotherapy Development Branch. He was invited to advise on setting up bench research laboratories in molecular radiation biology to better understand the underlying biological mechanistic differences between photons, protons and heavy ions.

Worldwide, the majority of cancers are treated with X-rays that are photons. The use of particle therapy with protons takes advantage of the physical dose distribution that enables the beam to stop at the target. Using heavier ions such as carbon ions has shown promise, based on 20 years of experience in Japan. The heavier particles, often referred to as hadrons, have both a physical advantage similar to protons but also a biological advantage. The specific properties depend on the particular ion; hadron centers have the potential to exploit these advantages for increasing cures and decreasing side effects. Heavy ion therapy centers in Germany, Italy and Japan are currently treating patients. The Shanghai program (known as SPHIC) is now opening a major cancer center for particle therapy under medical director Dr. Jiade Lu.

The project, which includes a hospital, radiation treatment center and research facilities, was initiated in 2007. Siemens began installation of the system in 2011. Therapy was initiated in 2014 and, with demonstrated capability of treatment in 30 patients, the Chinese FDA approved the facility in 2015.

The Shanghai Center is remarkable in scope and size. The NCI team helped launch its programs and participated with experts in hadron therapy from Italy, Japan and Germany to choose initial treatment regimens. Clinical trials may be initiated in collaboration with NCI and grantees in the near future.

Also on hand at the opening are (from l) Dr. Mansoor Ahmed, NCI; Dr. Xiaodong Wu, senior medical physicist, SPHIC; Dr. Linxiang Zhou, Fudan University; Dr. Marco Durante, director, biophysics department, GSI, Germany; Coleman and Dr. Jiade Lu, executive vice-president, SPHIC.

Also on hand at the opening are (from l) Dr. Mansoor Ahmed, NCI; Dr. Xiaodong Wu, senior medical physicist, SPHIC; Dr. Linxiang Zhou, Fudan University; Dr. Marco Durante, director, biophysics department, GSI, Germany; Coleman and Dr. Jiade Lu, executive vice-president, SPHIC.


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