Selective Thermal Neutron Capture Therapy of Cancer Cells Using their Specific Metabolic Activities—Melanoma as Prototype

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Abstract

It was around 1972 when it occurred to me that the accentuated melanogenesis occurring parallel and specific to the transformation of pigment cells to malignant melanoma could be utilized if we successfully synthesized and administered a10B-melanogenesis-seeking compound such as 10B-DOPA analogue (described later) into melanoma patients followed by thermal neutron irradiation. The 10B (n,α)7 Li reaction then would be specifically induced within10B-rich melanoma cells, leading to a novel selective melanoma eradication therapy. The success of such thermal neutron capture therapy (NCT) could be a good prototype leading to selective therapy for all cancers having specific metabolic activities. After completion of many years of basic investigative studies1~12 we successfully treated the first human malignant melanoma proliferating in the occipital region of a 66 year old man in 1987. This life threatening metastatic lesion soon showed complete regression following a single application, thus enabling us to attempt NCT on even operable cases. Thereafter, the total number of patients successfully treated by us using this therapy amounts to 18.