Over 3000 cancer patients have already been treated by the heavy-ion medical accelerator in Chiba at the National Institute of Radiological Sciences since 1994. The clinical results have clearly verified the effectiveness and safety of heavy-ion radiotherapy. The most important result has been to establish that the carbon ion is one of the most effective radiations for radiotherapy. The ion source is required to realize a stable beam with the same conditions for daily operation. However, the deposition of carbon ions on the wall of the plasma chamber is normally unavoidable. This causes an "anti-wall-coating effect," i.e., a decreasing of the beam, especially for the higher charge-state ions due to the surface material of the wall. The ion source must be required to produce a sufficiently intense beam under the bad condition. Other problems were solved by improvements and maintenance, and thus we obtained enough reproducibility and stability along with decreased failures. We summarize our over 13 years of experience, and show the scope for further developments.
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