Mitsubishi Electric's Particle Therapy System
Mitsubishi Electric's particle therapy systems focus a particle beam from outside the body at a tumor within the body, with pinpoint accuracy. The technology accelerates protons or carbon ions to 70% the speed of light, forming a particle beam. The beam releases its greatest energy at a fixed depth from the body's surface, targeting only the tumor but minimizing damage to the surrounding tissue. These innovative systems are at work in a growing number of medical facilities.
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Targeting Tumors With Pinpoint Accuracy
What does particle beam irradiation do?
Like other types of radiation therapy, particle beam irradiation eliminates the surgeon's scalpel from certain medical treatments. This technology, which is currently attracting great interest in the field, uses a new method to focus a particle beam inside a patient's body to destroy a tumor from outside the body. Particle therapy concentrates radiation onto an affected area while leaving nearby healthy tissue largely undamaged. This is possible because the beam releases the largest part of its energy just in front of its stop position.
Accelerating the particles to almost 70% the speed of light
Mitsubishi Electric's particle therapy systems use a synchrotron to accelerate hydrogen or carbon ions up to a speed of 200,000 km per second, roughly 70% the speed of light. The high-energy ions are then focused into a beam that can destroy a tumor deep within the body. This equipment is really more like a facility because it uses an enormous synchrotron with a beam pipe several hundred meters long.
World's first medical certification for carbon ion particle beam system
Mitsubishi Electric has been a pioneer in radiation therapy and accelerator systems for decades. It was therefore a natural step to combine these two fields and develop a particle therapy system. In 2002, Mitsubishi Electric's hydrogen ion (proton) particle therapy system was certified as an authorized medical device. Then, in 2005 the Mitsubishi Electric carbon ion particle beam, which is even more powerful than the proton version, became the first of its kind in the world to receive the same certification.
Medical use of particle beam irradiation is underway
Mitsubishi Electric's particle therapy systems are in full-scale operation at various medical treatment facilities. And the company is currently developing a new technology for matching the shape of the particle beam even more accurately to that of the tumor being treated. Mitsubishi Electric is making valuable contributions to the advancement of medical science to create a more reassuring future for human life.