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Glioma pp 233-249 | Cite as

Boron-Neutron Capture Therapy for Tumors

  • H. Hatanaka

Abstract

Soon after the discovery of neutrons by Chadwick at Cambridge University, Goldhaber noticed the release of an alpha particle as a neutron hits an atom. Although we do not know the exact origin of the idea, the possibility that such neutron capture reaction could be used for cancer treatment was initially mentioned in 1936 by an American physicist, Locher [1] of Swarthmore College. The idea that neutron capture reaction might be used for cancer treatment gradually took on more shape as a few scientists [2–4] conducted animal studies between 1940 and 1951. Clinical trials were started in 1951 at Brookhaven National Laboratory by Sweet and Javid [5], Javid et al. [6] and Farr et al. [7]. This naturally aroused interest in Europe [8] and Japan [9] as well. But the trials were discontinued after 17 glioblastoma cases were treated at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1960 and 1961. In 1961, boron-neutron capture therapy (BNCT) was virtually dead because of the discouraging clinical results of the MIT series [10]. It was in 1964 that the author was given a chance to study the therapy when he arrived at Harvard Medical School as an Exchange Scholar with the support of a Fulbright Travel Grant [11]. He worked with Prof. William H. Sweet, then Chief of the Neurosurgical Service at Massachusetts General Hospital, between July 1964 and July 1967. Other associates included A. H. Soloway, a chemist, and G. L. Brownell, a physicist. Sweet had not lost his enthusiasm for BNCT, although he was never to be able to resume clinical trials again during his tenure; the research still being conducted was limited to the basic aspect.

Keywords

Brain Tumor Thermal Neutron Neutron Capture Heavy Water Malignant Brain Tumor 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1991

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  • H. Hatanaka

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