MD Anderson and Hitachi to collaborate in research for treatment of oropharyngeal cancer of the head and neck

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and Hitachi Healthcare Americas Corporation, have today announced that they have entered into an agreement to collaborate on research for a unique randomized clinical trial comparing the outcomes and side-effects of intensity-modulated proton beam therapy (IMPT) versus intensity-modulated photon therapy (IMRT) for the treatment of oropharyngeal cancer of the head and neck.

With photon therapy, x-ray beams go through the cancerous tissue destroying both healthy and cancerous areas along the path of the beam. Unlike photon therapy, proton therapy is able to deposit the highest energy of the beam precisely at the tumor site sparing the surrounding healthy tissue and vital organs. IMPT was first introduced at MD Anderson’s Proton Therapy Center in May, 2008. It is a form of spot scanning proton therapy, where the energies of proton beams directed from various angles are manipulated so that even tumors of complex shapes can be precisely irradiated.

The randomized clinical trial is expected to involve up to 10 additional centers and will be led by Steven J. Frank, M.D., professor and deputy division head of Radiation Oncology, and Proton Center Medical Director at MD Anderson. This type of clinical trial, while common in therapeutics, is rarely conducted in radiation oncology.

“We are very encouraged by this 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. 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,” said Masaya Watanabe, vice president and executive officer, CEO of Hitachi’s Healthcare Business Unit.

Study findings will help Hitachi drive research and development within and beyond proton therapy. As one of the main focal points of Hitachi’s Social Innovation Business, the Healthcare Business covers diagnostics, therapy and informatics. Solutions include ultrasound, MRI systems, particle beam oncology therapy systems, as well as services utilizing IT which contributes to society.