Renovating BNCT - promoting efficient treatments for cancers deemed incurable through the use of normalized protocols, improved boron carriers and hospital-based accelerators


Boron neutron capture therapy (BNCT) has the potential to eradicate single tumor cells without damaging surrounding healthy cells. Successful tumor treatment can be achieved by combining a selective uptake of B-10 in tumor cells and irradiation with epithermal neutrons. For decades, the clinical use of BNCT was limited by the need for reactor-based neutron sources. Recently, hospital-based accelerators have become available leading to a renewed and now growing interest from the medical community. In Japan, patient treatments with BNCT have been continuously performed since the 1970s. A substantial body of clinical experience has been gathered but highest quality evidence of efficacy of BNCT is lacking. In Europe, there are some strong basic science activities, but limited clinical expertise.

The RENOVATE initiative is specifically focused to advance the use of BNCT in European hospitals by connecting the extensive clinical expertise in Japan with the strong basic research activities in Europe. To implement an effective BNCT treatment two major components should merge in a single approach: namely a drug able to carry B-10 selectively into tumor cells and a suitable neutron beam. A major goal of RENOVATE is to establish and promote preclinical research for the development and testing of improved boron compounds in Europe. However, it will also put new approaches in neutron dosimetry at the forefront of this visionary medical technique. Achieving success requires the participation of an international multidisciplinary consortium where expertise in basic sciences, clinical research and engineering can be strongly combined. RENOVATE brings together experienced teams from around the world able to perform translational research in all required domains, taking developments from the laboratory to technical realization at the hospital bed in a coordinated and systematic manner. These developments will enable the definitive multi-center clinical trials which are required for health systems to adopt BNCT.