Bringing Japan’s breakthrough cancer technology to Australia

Please login to favourite this article.

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.

This exciting advancement for science and technology in Australia would be suited for students in years 5, 8, 9, and 10 studying Physical, Chemical or Biological Sciences.

There are also contextual maths questions that would suit students in years 11 and 12.

Word Count / Video Length: 251 / 8:42 mins

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.

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.

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.

Login or Sign up for FREE to download a copy of the full teacher resource

Years: 5, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12


Biological Sciences – Cells, The Body

Chemical Sciences – Atoms, Particle Models

Physical Sciences – Forces, Energy

Additional: Careers, Maths, Technology, Engineering.

Concepts (South Australia):

Biological Sciences – Form and Function

Chemical Sciences – Properties of Matter, Change of Matter

Physical Sciences – Forces and Motion, Energy


5 & 8-10