The BNCT Project at the National Atomic Energy Commission (CNEA)
The BNCT project began at CNEA in the year 1996 to develop the technology,
the facilities and the scientific and medical expertise leading to clinical
research for that therapy in patients in Argentina.
Participants include staff from all three Atomic Centres and a medical team
of specialists from the Roffo Institute of Oncology. Forty professionals
(equivalent to 20 full-time) constitute the multidisciplinary team.
|Figure 1. RA-6 Reactor,
Bariloche Atomic Center.
The irradiation facility, the clinical beam and the corresponding
dosimetry were developed at the RA-6 Reactor at the Bariloche Atomic Centre
(CAB) (Figure 1) for cutaneous melanoma patients. Computational dosimetry,
treatment planning, boron measurements in biological matrices, basic studies
in radiobiology, microdosimetry, dynamic infrared thermography and
autoradiography are carried out at the Constituyentes Atomic Centre (CAC).
The development, characterization and instrumentation of a thermal beam at
the RA-3 Reactor to irradiate small animals, cell cultures and future BNCT
application in liver metastases patients are performed at the Ezeiza Atomic
Centre (CAE). The clinical aspects of the therapy have been addressed by the
Roffo Institute of Oncology within the context of an agreement with CNEA for
this purpose. Figure 2 shows the organization of the team.
S. Liberman -
E. Bumaschny, J. Cardoso
Computational Dosimetry and Treatment Planning
S. Gonzalez, M.
Casal, G. Santa Cruz
M. Casal et al.
CAC – Roffo
Figure 2. Organization of the BNCT team
CAC: Constituyentes Atomic Center; CAB:
Bariloche Atomic Center; CAE: Ezeiza Atomic Center;
The basic radiobiological research allow for the study of new clinical
applications of BNCT and the optimization of its efficacy by testing
the potential therapeutic gain for new boron compounds. Two experimental
models for BNCT studies were developed: the model of oral cancer in the
hamster cheek pouch and the model of undifferentiated thyroid cancer. Both
models were evaluated employing BNCT mediated by BPA and other boron
The first pathology under study was melanoma of extremities. The Fase I/II
protocol was approved by the National Administration of Drugs, Food and
Clinical Technology (ANMAT) and licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Authority
(ARN). The patients receive an infusion of about 14g/m2 of L-p
boronophenylalanine (10BPA)-fructose followed by the exposition of the area
to the hyperthermal neutron beam (mixed field of thermal and epithermal
neutrons) at the RA-6 reactor. The boron measurements are performed by
Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectroscopy (ICP-OES).
The first clinical trial was performed on October 9, 2003. Up to date
(August 2008), eight BNCT irradiations covering ten anatomical areas were
New BNCT applications are under development: colorectal liver metastases,
undifferentiated thyroid cancer, lung and cancer in the oral cavity.