FYI, from another list....
Sent: Wednesday December 18, 2002 9:22 PM
Subject: BNCT in Italy
LONDON, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Italian scientists have taken a new approach to
treating liver cancer by removing the organ, dosing it with radiation and
then replacing it in the patient.
A 48-year-old man who was the first patient to have the innovative treatment
at the San Matteo Hospital in Pavia, Italy is cancer-free a year after he was
treated during the 21-hour operation for more than 14 tumours in his liver.
"The out-of-body operation allows doctors to administer high doses of
radiation to widespread tumours without affecting other organs," New
Scientist magazine said on Wednesday.
Surgeon Aris Zonta and physicist Tazio Pinelli of the National Institute of
Nuclear Physics in Italy, who co-ordinated the procedure, are awaiting
approval to treat six other patients with multiple tumours.
The original patient had cancer of the colon, which had spread to the liver.
The cancer did not respond to chemotherapy and was so widespread that
conventional radiotherapy would have destroyed the liver.
The Italian scientists decided to try boron neutron capture therapy which
they have been working on since 1987 and which was first attempted in the
It involves injecting a fluid containing boron atoms into the patient and
using a low-energy neutron beam to split the boron into particles that kill
the cancerous cells.
But an even dose of neutrons is needed to treat the entire organ and bones in
the body can block the beam so the surgeons removed the liver, treated it and
then replaced in the body.
"By explanting the organ, we could give a high and uniform dose to all the
liver, which is impossible to obtain inside the body without serious risk to
the patient," Pinelli told the magazine.
Although the treatment, which has been dubbed TAORMINA, was successful and
could give new hope to seriously ill patients it would only be suitable for
patients whose cancer has spread to only one other organ and if they are
strong to survive the operation. "The technique is currently being tested on
patients with otherwise untreatable brain tumours -- obviously without
removing the organ in question," he magazine added.