Ions instead of a knife: a new way to treat tumors

Not always the latest news from China may be related to the spread of coronavirus infection. This was confirmed by a message from the city of Lanzhou, which says about the commissioning of a unique complex of carbon-ion therapy, which helps to defeat tumors even without surgery. It is known that a unique technology makes it easy to destroy neoplasms with the help of carbon ions, accelerated to 70% of the speed of light. Can new technology really save humanity from cancer?

What is carbon ion therapy?

The method of treating cancer patients with charged beams was invented back in 1946 when the American scientist Robert Wilson proposed the use of physics in medicine. At the same time, the researcher expressed the idea that not only protons can serve a person in the fight against dangerous diseases, but also some other particles invisible to the eye. Be that as it may, mankind only listened to Wilson’s theory of treating cancer with charged ions only in the 21st century, when standard methods of getting rid of the disease were faced with radiation-resistant types of cancer.

Currently, carbon-ion therapy is a unique cancer treatment technology that allows treating even those patients who could not be helped by other types of therapy. In order to translate the new method of combating cancer into reality and give hope to thousands of patients, scientists from China have built a whole range of various devices that can use the charged waves to affect the patient’s body with virtually no serious side effects.



The unique equipment, which occupies two rooms in one of the Chinese clinics, consists of an accelerator – a particle accelerator and the treatment part itself, aimed at removing malignant tumors from the human body. A beam of charged particles released from the device into the neoplasm zone is gradually inhibited as the particles move in the patient’s body and at the same time accumulates an ionic carbon charge that acts on the tumor in a specific way.

As the beam decelerates in the patient’s body, the level of ionization gradually increases, reaching its maximum destructive effect in the area of ​​the tumor, without affecting adjacent healthy tissues. The extremely small size of the ion beam makes it easy to focus on the area needed for treatment, making the treatment process for the patient completely painless and even imperceptible.

Currently, there are several centers in the world where you can undergo the procedure of carbon-ion therapy. So, in addition to the clinic in Lanzhou, China, treatment options for the disease can be found in Tokyo, Japan, Darmstadt, Germany, and the Austrian MedAustron Center.

The carbon-ion therapy procedure can be completely painless for the patient

Prices for a unique therapy of their own can reach several tens of thousands of euros. However, most often, such a price is justified by high efficiency, and sometimes by the lack of alternative treatment. So, a number of studies have already been able to prove its success in the treatment of prostate cancer, bone sarcoma, glioblastoma, and colorectal cancer.

Despite the fact that the new therapy is considered the safest method of treating the disease, it can still have certain side effects. So, in the zone of active exposure to a charged carbon beam, irritation and a rash can occur, and after the procedure itself, patients often complain of fever, allergic reactions and general intoxication of the body. Scientists attribute all this to the destruction of the tumor, the residual particles of which for some time still continue to poison the body of the diseased.