News Releases


St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Opens New Proton Therapy Center

The first center 100% dedicated to pediatric cancer

Memphis, December 14, 2015 ---Hitachi, Ltd. (TSE:6501, “Hitachi”) today announced that St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital opened the St. Jude Red Frog Events Proton Therapy Center in Memphis, Tennessee, the world’s first proton therapy center solely dedicated to children. The new center has 190-degree half gantries that provide efficient and spacious treatment-room environments suited specifically for pediatric care. All rooms are equipped with spot-scanning irradiation, a technology for which Hitachi received the first FDA Premarket Notification Special 510(k) clearance in 2007. St. Jude will be Hitachi’s third proton therapy site in the United States.

“The opening of the St. Jude Red Frog Events Proton Therapy Center marks an important step in our efforts to provide therapies that maximize cures while minimizing long-term treatment complications,” said James R. Downing, M.D., St. Jude president and chief executive officer. “The center is an engineering marvel made possible through the talents of many who are committed to offering children with cancer the best hope for the future.”

Radiation therapy, used alone or in combination with surgery and chemotherapy, is an integral component for successfully managing and treating pediatric tumors. Proton therapy allows doctors to administer targeted, high-dose radiation while sparing surrounding healthy tissue from exposure.

“The center is a one-of-a-kind patient resource that will help advance care for pediatric brain and solid tumors,” said Masaya Watanabe, Vice President and Executive Officer, President and CEO of the Healthcare Group and Healthcare Company at Hitachi, Ltd. “It is extremely rewarding to see this project realized and to celebrate this moment that holds great promise for the future of childhood cancer treatment.”

Proton beam therapy is an advanced form of external beam radiotherapy in which the protons from a hydrogen atom are extracted and accelerated up to 70 percent the speed of light. The energy beam is concentrated directly on the tumor, minimizing radiation doses to the surrounding healthy tissues. The procedure has fewer side effects compared to traditional radiotherapy.

Spot-scanning irradiation technology does not scatter proton beams like conventional proton beam therapy does. Rather, it repeatedly turns a narrow proton beam on and off at high speed as it progressively changes location to irradiate entire tumor volumes. Protons can be aimed with high precision at targeted tumors, even those with complex shapes, while minimizing the impact on nearby healthy tissue.

Hitachi will continue to enhance its particle therapy systems through innovations and deliver advanced technologies throughout the world.