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J Neurooncol. 2003 Mar-Apr;62(1-2):7-17.

Fission reactor neutron sources for neutron capture therapy--a critical review.

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Nuclear Engineering Department, Nuclear Reactor Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.


The status of fission reactor-based neutron beams for neutron capture therapy (NCT) is reviewed critically. Epithermal neutron beams, which are favored for treatment of deep-seated tumors, have been constructed or are under construction at a number of reactors worldwide. Some of the most recently constructed epithermal neutron beams approach the theoretical optimum for beam purity. Of these higher quality beams, at least one is suitable for use in high through-put routine therapy. It is concluded that reactor-based epithermal neutron beams with near optimum characteristics are currently available and more can be constructed at existing reactors. Suitable reactors include relatively low power reactors using the core directly as a source of neutrons or a fission converter if core neutrons are difficult to access. Thermal neutron beams for NCT studies with small animals or for shallow tumor treatments, with near optimum properties have been available at reactors for many years. Additional high quality thermal beams can also be constructed at existing reactors or at new, small reactors. Furthermore, it should be possible to design and construct new low power reactors specifically for NCT, which meet all requirements for routine therapy and which are based on proven and highly safe reactor technology.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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