First proton treatment room handed over to UMC Groningen department of radiation oncology

First proton treatment room handed over to UMC Groningen department of radiation oncology

30 October 2017

Recently a new milestone has been reached at our proton therapy center. The supplier (IBA) has handed over the first proton therapy treatment room (gantry) including the proton accelerator and beam line. Our medical physicists will now start the so-called commissioning phase; validating and tuning the accuracy of radiotherapy delivery.

A virtual proton center

To be well-prepared for our first proton therapy patient treatment, our staff members are already applying our projected proton therapy workflow. This means that patients will receive an immobilization mask that has been designed for use with proton therapy. The same mask can also be applied in our current photon therapy treatments. Both a photon and proton therapy treatment will be planned. The radiation oncologist will compare the expected risk of complications of both plans, thereby determining the treatment modality of choice (photons or protons). For now, all patients will still receive photon therapy. The dry-run validation may show bottlenecks in our proton therapy workflow which can then be addressed prior to the start of proton therapy treatments.

Patient referral

Our proton therapy center will be accepting patients for treatment by the end of 2017. We will start with the treatment of internally referred head-and-neck, base-of-skull and pediatric tumors. Soon after we will open up our proton therapy treatments for external referrals as well. The coming weeks we will therefore also perform dry-runs of referrals through our “managed clinical network”; a cooperation between radiotherapy institutes in Leeuwarden, Zwolle, Enschede, Deventer, Arnhem and us.

Our timeline

We are currently in the final stages of equipping and furnishing our proton therapy center and performing clinical commissioning tests of our first proton gantry. In a few months’ time we will start validation tests on our second proton gantry.  The official grand opening of our proton therapy center will be in 2018.