MD Anderson and Hitachi to Collaborate on Head and Neck Cancer Therapy

Dentistry Today


The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and Hitachi Healthcare Americas will collaborate on a randomized clinical trial comparing the outcomes and side effects of intensity-modulated proton beam therapy (IMPT) and intensity-modulated photon therapy (IMRT) for treating oropharyngeal cancer of the head and neck. 

With photon therapy, x-rays destroy both healthy and cancerous tissue. Proton therapy deposits the highest energy of the x-ray beam precisely at the tumor site, sparing the surrounding healthy tissue and vital organs. IMPT is a form of spot scanning proton therapy, where the energies of proton beams directed from various angles are manipulated so even tumors of complex shapes can be precisely irradiated.

Led by Steven J. Frank, MD, professor and deputy division head of radiation oncology and Proton Center medical director at MD Anderson, the study will involve up to 10 additional centers. This type of randomized clinical trial, while common in therapeutics, is rarely conducted in radiation oncology. 

“We are very encouraged by the clinical trial and the support we have received,” said Frank. “We have treated over 7,500 patients and 2,000 of these patients with IMPT via this long-term collaboration, and this year we commemorated our 11th anniversary of treating patients with proton therapy. We are confident that by working together, we can gain greater insight on the advantages of proton therapy.”

“Hitachi’s partnership with MD Anderson over the past 15 years has helped drive Hitachi to become the leader in proton therapy systems,” said Masaya Watanabe, vice president and executive officer, CEO, of Hitachi’s healthcare business unit. “In the coming years, we look to build on our experiences and discover new opportunities in various markets to further serve society through advanced healthcare innovations.”

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