Cancer remains one of the leading causes of death across the world, with over 600,000 people dying from cancer each year in the U.S. alone. The holy grail of medical discoveries, for decades thousands of doctors and scientists across the world have worked to develop new and effective means of curing cancer. Each year new therapies are developed with better prospects for those suffering a range of different types of cancer. One of the most promising of these technologies is Boron Neutron Capture Therapy (BNCT).
The Beginning of Boron Neutron Capture Therapy
BNCT was developed in the first half of the 20th century and began to show promising results in clinical investigations as early as the 1950s. BNCT has traditionally been carried out using boronophenylalanine (BPA) and neutrons that originate from nuclear reactor cores. However, BPA proved to be an inadequate boron-10 compound, and neutrons derived from the cores of nuclear reactors are scarce and often prohibitively expensive. The search for more suitable boron-10 compounds as well as a more available source of neutrons has continued to pose significant barriers to the widespread adoption of BNCT in treating cancer.
BNCT Reintroduced with New Technologies
Thankfully, new developments in many technologies including accelerator-based neutron sources and novel synthetic routes for boron-10 target drugs have reintroduced BNCT as a promising candidate in the search for a universal cure for cancer. In contrast to other therapies, BNCT is a targeted and non-invasive form of cancer treatment. In BNCT, the patient is infused with a non-toxic boron-10 compound that selectively accumulates in tumor tissues. The cancerous tumor is then irradiated with low energy neutrons which emits charged particles that can destroy cancer cells while minimizing damage to healthy tissue.
How it Works
BNCT is effective in treating recurrent, multiple, and untreated cancers, by selectively targeting and destroying cancer cells, and eliminating the need for supplemental technologies. Furthermore, treatment is highly efficient, requiring only one or two treatment sessions, and targets undetected local cancer cells in parallel with primary cancer cells. The result is a lower level of patient positioning, is typically more comfortable for patients, and reduces the medical infrastructure required to administer treatment. Overall, BNCT may offer to significantly reduce side effects and greatly improve the quality of life of patients suffering from cancer.
Exciting Developments for Cancer Treatment Utilizing BNCT
Some of the most exciting developments towards realizing BNCT as an effective and frequently employed therapy have been developed by TAE Life Sciences. TAE Life Sciences is one of the only companies working to develop comprehensive target drugs and accompanying neutron technologies, which are both necessary to realize BNCT as a primary treatment for cancer patients across the world.
TLS’s work is focused on their Alphabeam System and targeted Boron drugs. The TLS Alphabeam System is clinically optimized and cost effective, allowing medical professionals to treat more patients, faster. Similarly, TLS’s targeted boron drugs use a variety of molecular designs and synthetic routes, with initial results showing superior delivery of boron to cancerous tissue compared to traditional boron carriers. TLS continues to pave the way in realizing BNCT to save the lives of millions of people suffering from cancer.