Sparkling opening symposium Proton Therapy @ Groningen

Sparkling opening symposium Proton Therapy @ Groningen

14 June 2018

In a fully packed DOT conference center, more than 250 radiation-oncologists, physicists, radiotherapy technicians, researchers and others interested were educated in the medical, physics, radiobiological and organizational aspects of proton therapy. The two-day symposium on ‘High precision, innovation and healthy ageing of cancer patients’ preceded the official opening of the new proton therapy center on June 8.

Highest quality and safety

International experts from proton therapy centers in the United States and Switzerland, with more than ten years of clinical experience, discussed the multitude of indications for which proton therapy has already successfully been applied to treat (the primary) cancer. These indications include tumors in the brain, breast, gastro-intestinal region and head and neck region as well as tumors in pediatric patients. These presentations were intermixed with those by experts of the UMCG department of radiation oncology, showcasing the results of their 33 months of diligent work. They have not only safely and successfully introduced world-class quality proton therapy, they also showed that their installed technology allows further developments to push proton therapy treatments beyond the state of the art. 

Quality of life

These future improvements were highlighted in the closing session, in which the departmental research and development program was presented. The program combines physics, biology and clinical research into three main and mutually reinforcing themes. The first theme focuses on increasing knowledge of the effects of radiation on healthy tissues. These new insights will be used to optimize the radiation treatment. The topic of the second theme is to innovate and optimize the use of proton therapy technology, pushing the technical boundaries. The third theme focuses on the use of extensive medical imaging to visualize radiation damage and to predict treatment outcome. The overall goal of the research and development program is the healthysurvival of cancer. The quality of life of cancer patients who have received radiation therapy, can be improved by reducing the amount of radiation to healthy tissues. Proton therapy is ideally suited spare healthy tissues and thus to reduce the side-effects of radiation treatment. 

The symposium was sponsored by IBA, Elekta, Raysearch Laboratories and Orfit. 
The department of radiation-oncology is grateful to all speakers and attendees for a very successful symposium!