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23 February, 2015

Mitsubishi Electric Develops Irradiation Nozzle for Three Types of Beams

On February 17, Japan’s Mitsubishi Electric Corp. announced that it had developed an irradiation nozzle for use in particle-beam cancer therapy that can be switched readily to project three types of beams: broad, layer-stacking and scanning.

The multifunction nozzle allows fast, highly accurate irradiation treatments fine-tuned to the shape and location of the tumor, with all treatments carried out in the same room, making the procedure easier on the patient.

One of the main characteristics is that all three types of particle beams — broad, layer-stacking and scanning — can be used with just a single nozzle, enabling quick switching among them.

In addition to the quick-switching aspect of the irradiation nozzle, its ability to handle three types of beams means that treatment can be matched to the tumor’s location and shape and conducted in one treatment room, thus lessening the burden on the patient.

Another characteristic is that the high-speed scanning electromagnet, which is traditionally used for scanning-type irradiation, can be used for broad-beam and layer-stacking irradiation as well.

In comparison with Mitsubishi Electric’s previous systems, the beam-scanning speed is five times faster and irradiation times reduced to as little as one-third the previous level. A multi-leaf collimator is used for the accurate irradiation of complicated targets, to enhance performance.

The multifunction irradiation nozzle will be used in proton-type particle therapy systems, which are expected to begin in FY16 (April 2016 to March 2017). Particle-beam therapy systems require pharmaceutical licenses, so the company will file applications early for systems using the multi-function irradiation nozzle.

Currently, therapy and clinical research using particle therapy systems are carried out at 13 medical facilities around Japan. The company has already delivered systems to eight of them, and more than 20,000 patients have been treated by systems it has manufactured.

Feedback from users has included the desire for treatments to be completed in less time, and for irradiation to be able to switch modes to better deal with the shape of particular tumors.

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