Shanghai begins trial of major cancer therapy
An advanced and expensive treatment for cancerous tumors has begun clinical trials in Shanghai and is expected to reduce the number of Chinese patients who travel overseas for the procedure.
The first trial of the proton and heavy ion treatment was performed on a 71-yearold man who suffered from prostate cancer. He received the treatment at the Shanghai Proton and Heavy Ion Center earlier this month.
So far, no adverse effects have been reported after the treatment, according to the medical staff.
Known as particle therapy, the treatment uses the beams of protons or heavy ions to irradiate diseased tissue, especially tumors.
The advantage of particle therapy, compared with other forms of external-beam radiotherapy such as X-ray therapy, is its ability to more precisely target the diseased area. Meanwhile, the dosage outside of the treatment area is significantly less, which helps reduce the damage to healthy tissue. The therapy has been in use for a long time, and is viewed as a mature treatment technology.
However, because of the high cost of research and development, it has been adopted in few developed countries. It is currently in use in the United States, Japan and Germany.
In recent years, a growing number of Chinese patients have traveled overseas to receive the advanced treatment.
The effort to bring the therapy to China has been in development in Shanghai for about 10 years.
Located at the city’s Pudong district, the Shanghai Proton and Heavy Ion Center officially went into operation in 2013. It is managed by the Shanghai Cancer Center, a hospital affiliated with Fudan University.
The center is the first hospital in China, and third in the world that is equipped with both proton and heavy ion treatment techniques.
“We will carefully choose patients to receive treatment. The matter of prime importance is to ensure patients’ safety, so we will have a thorough and comprehensive evaluation of each patient’s condition before carrying out the therapy,” said Jiang Guoliang, a radiation oncology professor who is also the chief technology officer at the center.
He spoke at the 53rd Annual Conference of the Particle Therapy Co-Operative Group in Shanghai earlier this month.