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Boron Chemistry And Applications To Cancer Treatment.pdf

Neutron capture therapy (NCT) is a type of radiotherapy for treating locally invasive malignant tumors such as primary brain tumors, recurrent cancers of the head and neck region, and cutaneous and extracutaneous melanomas. It is a two-step process: first, the patient is injected with a tumor-localizing drug containing the stable isotope boron-10 (10B), which has a high propensity to capture low energy "thermal" neutrons. The neutron cross section of 10B (3,837 barns) is 1,000 times more than that of other elements, such as nitrogen, hydrogen, or oxygen, that occur in tissue. In the second step, the patient is radiated with epithermal neutrons, the sources of which in the past have been nuclear reactors and now are accelerators that produce higher energy epithermal neutrons. After losing energy as they penetrate tissue, the resultant low energy "thermal" neutrons are captured by the 10B atoms. The resulting decay reaction yields high-energy alpha particles that kill the cancer cells that have taken up enough 10B.