Cutting-edge center at forefront of cancer treatment

Cai Wenjun
The Shanghai Proton and Heavy Ion Center has treated thousands of patients in just five years. It has also developed international clinical standards on certain cancer treatments.
Cai Wenjun

A total of 2,692 patients were discharged from the Shanghai Proton and Heavy Ion Center since it opened five years ago, the hospital announced on Friday.

The center, which uses cutting-edge proton and heavy ion beams to target and kill cancerous tissue without harming healthy tissue and cells, is the first facility of its kind in China and only the third in the world.

Through advanced radiotherapy technology, the center has targeted brain, early lung, liver, prostate, pancreas and nasopharynx cancers. Patients with these cancers account for 63 percent of the total.

Clinical guidelines on nasopharynx treatment created by the center have become a standard recognized by the international medical community, according to Guo Xiaomao, president of the center.

About 80 percent of nasopharynx cancer cases occur in China. The traditional treatment is photon radiation, but 10 to 20 percent of patients can relapse and need to receive radiation again. During that process, about 40 percent of patients can suffer serious side effects.

The center tried heavy ion radiation on patients with relapse, yielding better survival rate and less side effects, officials said.

The center also focuses on scientific innovation and research. It led the world’s first guidance on proton and heavy ion treatment to offer direction for international counterparts, as well as medical equipment development.

With the center's rising influence at home and abroad, about 59 percent of patients come from the Yangtze River Delta region. The center has also received patients from China's Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, as well as foreign countries.

It also established training centers and offered training courses for medics from other provinces.

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