Okayama University


Okayama University and IAEA signed an agreement in a new cancer therapy, Boron Neutron Capture Therapy (BNCT)

October 28, 2016

Okayama University and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) concluded an agreement on October 26 regarding boron neutron capture therapy (BNCT), a new cancer treatment. President Kiyoshi Morita and Executive Director/Vice President of Research Shin-ichi Yamamoto from Okayama University were present at the signing ceremony, and together with Dr Meera Venkatesh, Director of the Division of Physical and Chemical Sciences in the Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications at IAEA, signed the agreement. This is the first agreement in the world to be concluded with the IAEA on BNCT.

In this greeting, President Morita said, “It is an enormous honor to conclude a cooperative agreement on boron neutron capture therapy, BNCT. BNCT is a cancer treatment with great expectations, and a therapy resulting from the fortuitous encounter of modern elementary particle physics with new pharmaceutical cellular biology. I anticipate the present agreement further strengthening our relationship with the IAEA and leading to new developments in BNCT”. Executive Director Yamamoto said he hoped a broad range of knowledge would be shared in the field of radiotherapy, saying, “BNCT is a technology integrating the medical, pharmaceutical and physical sciences. Through this agreement with the IAEA, we aim to contribute to education and research in this innovative field”.

Director Venkatesh also spoke, saying, “The IAEA is committed to accelerate and enlarge contribution of atomic energy to peace, health and development around the world. The significant advances of cancer therapy have been observed in the last years; however, numerous challenges need to be dealt with. The IAEA Member States will also benefit from cooperation with internationally recognized institutions, such as the Okayama University. We did not see much progress in BNCT for a few decades. However, the Side Event we organized during the IAEA’s General Conference this September urged us to re-examine the current status of this therapy, focusing in particular on the recent development of new boron compounds and effective neutron sources generated in accelerator.”

Professor Hideki Matsui of the Graduate School of Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences, who developed a boron compound that could reach cancer cell nuclei, said, “BNCT may be the most promising cancer treatment. If a compound containing B-10 can be injected into each cancer cell which is then exposed to a neutron beam, the cancer cell can be killed by the boron-neutron reaction within the cell.”

Okayama University and the IAEA had a cooperative relationship even prior to the conclusion of this agreement. Twice previously we have held joint symposiums, inviting specialists from the IAEA, and in addition, we held an international workshop in 2015 titled “The Current and a Future of Radiation” and a symposium in 2016 titled “The Current and a Future of Radiation and External Beam Therapy.”

Through these activities, our mutual cooperation is demonstrated to be useful to the establishment and introduction of research and education program on BNCT. Professor Matsui and Professor Yasuaki Ichikawa of the Organization for Research Promotion & Collaboration are engaging in further cooperative activities with the IAEA.

Contact information
Organization for Research Promotion & Collaboration
E-mail: s-renkei(a)adm.okayama-u.ac.jp
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