Buckley Systems electromagnets key to new cancer treatment
By Edwin Mitson
Sept. 16 (BusinessDesk) - Auckland-based manufacturer Buckley Systems is part of a team that has announced the development and manufacture of an alternative cancer treatment, details of which have been published overnight in Helsinki, the capital of Finland.
In July, Buckley announced that it was doubling its factory space to meet demand for its electromagnets. The business is mainly based around making the precision electromagnets that go into machines which make almost all of the world's silicon chips.
The Boron Neutron Capture Therapy is not a new treatment, but the issue has revolved around making it a practical proposition. Previously the therapy was being trialled using full sized nuclear reactors, which produce enough neutrons to make it effective. Only a limited number of treatments could be carried out by staff at Helsinki University Central Hospital because of the lack of availability of the reactor, and further work was stymied when the reactor was closed down four years ago.
Before then, treatment had been carried out on 50 head and neck cancers over the past 12 years.
A new company, called Neutron Therapeutics, has now been formed, based around a machine developed in Danvers, Massachusets for the solar industry. Buckley said the addition of precision electromagnets in the machine meant it could deliver the required number of neutrons, without the risk of using a nuclear reactor.
President of Buckley, Bill Buckley, said the development had been a three-way partnership: "We're the machine experts, Danvers develops the equipment and the Finns have the medical knowledge and the experience."
Buckley bought the accelerator assets and intellectual property in November from GT Advanced Technologies, which hadn't been able to produce a machine on an economic basis.
A treatment suite, around the size of a basketball court, will become operational in Helsinki late next year.
"There's no single cure for cancer," Buckley added, "But Boron Neutron Capture Therapy is a first chance."
The treatment is one-off and sees Boron injected into the patient, which attaches itself to cancer cells. The cancer is then bombarded with neutrons in a manner which is much more accurate than current techniques. It does minimal damage to healthy cells and is expected to cost amounts similar to current treatments.
Patients previously treated using the nuclear reactor had an average age of 60, with a high success rate for often incurable cancers, Buckley said. However, he added that the technology could be used with younger people.