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Compact proton therapy for fight against cancer
Date:6/10/2014

The future face of modern-day anti-cancer therapy based on charged particles like protons could potentially involve using laser accelerators. However, these facilities will need to be reduced in terms of both size and cost compared to conventional ones. In the scientific journal, Applied Physics B, Dresden medical physicist Umar Masood is the first to present a new design for the entire complex machine from the accelerator to the radiation site. In the process, he has successfully cut the facility's size in half.

In the fight against cancer, proton therapy is especially precise and is better able to spare healthy tissue compared to established, high-level, hard X-ray based radiation therapy. A conventional proton radiotherapy facility typically consists of a ring accelerator plus a gigantic steel construction called a gantry with 360-degree rotational ability. In-between, protons are sent flying through a long beamline where heavy electromagnets keep them on track.

In Germany, only two universities Heidelberg and Essen are currently offering proton therapy as a treatment option; Dresden is on the cusp of starting operation of its own brand new facility. Professor Michael Baumann, Director of the new University Proton Therapy Dresden and of OncoRay National Center for Radiation Research in Oncology sheds light on the reason behind this: "On the one hand, the application of proton beam therapy in different types of cancer has yet to be studied in more depth; for 15 to 20 percent of all radiotherapy patients, proton beam therapy will most likely be a considerable advantage compared with the established form of radiation therapy. On the other hand, the necessary facilities are quite large and costly. Thus, this treatment option will become more widely accepted, the more compact and the less expensive the available equipment becomes."

For this, it is necessary to shrink the three main components the accelerator, the beamline,
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Contact: Christine Bohnet
c.bohnet@hzdr.de
49-351-260-2450
Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf
Source:Eurekalert  

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