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Encyclopedia > Boron Neutron Capture Therapy

Boron neutron capture therapy (BNCT) is an experimental form of radiotherapy that utilizes a neutron beam that interacts with boron injected to a patient. BNCT depends on the interaction of slow neutrons with boron-10 to produce alpha particles and lithium nuclei, other types of ionizing radiation. Patients are first given an intravenous injection of a boron-10 tagged chemical that preferentially binds to tumor cells. In clinical trials performed so far the neutrons are created in a nuclear reactor, but particle accelerators may also be used to collide protons into targets made of lithium or beryllium. The neutrons pass through a moderator, which shapes the neutron energy spectrum suitable for BNCT treatment. Before entering the patient the neutron beam is shaped by a beam collimator. While passing through the tissue of the patient, the neutrons are slowed by collisions and become low energy thermal neutrons. The thermal neutrons undergo reaction with the boron-10 nuclei, forming a compound nucleus (excited boron-11) which then promptly disintegrates to lithium-7 and an alpha particle. Both the alpha particle and the lithium ion produce closely spaced ionizations in the immediate vicinity of the reaction, with a range of approximately 10 micrometres, or one cell diameter. This technique is advantageous since the radiation damage occurs over a short range and thus normal tissues can be spared. BNCT has been experimentaly tested primarily as an alternative treatment for malignant brain tumors called glioblastomas. Although there are reports of some successful outcomes, this approach has not yet been shown to be superior to other current therapies. Hence, BNCT has not entered routine clinical use. Radiation therapy (or radiotherapy) is the medical use of ionizing radiation as part of cancer treatment to control malignant cells (not to be confused with radiology, the use of radiation in medical imaging and diagnosis). ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... General Name, Symbol, Number boron, B, 5 Chemical series metalloids Group, Period, Block 13, 2, p Appearance black/brown Atomic mass 10. ... Core of a small nuclear reactor used for research. ...


External links

  • International Society of Neutron Capture therapy
  • Helsinki University Central Hospital and Technical Research Centre of Finland BNCT Project

 
 

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