Bringing Japan’s breakthrough cancer technology to Australia

Proudly supported by

Play icon

Bringing Japan's breakthrough cancer technology to Australia


  Last updated October 1, 2020 at 10:09 am


For more than 20 years Japan has used a revolutionary technology to treat cancer.  Now, Australian physicists and doctors are joining forces to bring it here.

Why This Matters: A cancer treatment revolution has been overlooked for decades.

Particle Therapy is a breakthrough technology that destroys cancer cells with minimal side effects. However, although its been used in Japan and other countries around the world for over 20 years, it’s never been used in Australia.

A group of physicists and doctors travelled to Japan to learn more about the technology. Go behind the scenes of the incredible facilities and see the technology that has treated tens-of-thousands of patients, including lung and brain cancer.

particle therapy proton beam

Beams of protons or carbon ions destroy the tumour with very few side effects

The power of particle therapy

Particle therapy uses beams of protons or carbon ions aimed at tumours within the body. These beams can be made to precisely strike the tumour, and release their energy within the cancer itself. This destroys the DNA of the cancer cells, causing them to die.

However, thanks to a phenomenon in physics called the Bragg Peak these particles only affect the tumour, leaving healthy cells almost untouched. And that means very few side effects, if any.

This makes particle therapy extremely effective – some cancers can be completely eliminated in only four days.

Teach This: Education Resource

Deeper: Big Questions: Cancer

Bringing particle therapy in Australia

Despite a long history in Japan, there are currently no particle therapy facilities in Australia. However there are plans to build one in Adelaide and negotiations for a second in Sydney.

But these facilities need government support. With this powerful technology, Australia can be at the forefront of cancer therapy.

For cancer patients right around Australia, this will be a game changer.

Produced in partnership with ANSTO and AINSE – Australian Institute of Nuclear Science and Engineering

More Like This

Inhaling crab nanoparticles could treat lung cancer

What is to blame for childhood cancer? We often misunderstand the reality

Published By

Science and technology is as much a part of our cultural fabric as art, music, theatre and literature. They play a significant role in our daily lives, yet, in a world dependent on science, we often take them for granted. Australia’s Science Channel believes every citizen has a right, and a responsibility, to be informed, and our mission is to create programs to bring that about.