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I love physics, mathematics and kids. My great ambition is to learn kids that numbers are nature.


Particle physics gave birth to a wide range of applications, from the web to hadron therapy

Is pure research useful?🙉

In 10 seconds? Many people thinks that academic research in abstract fields as particle physics has not practical (and useful) applications. At CERN, one of the most important laboratories for particle physics, a big effort is devoted to R&D and technology transfer.

Don’t believe it? The World Wide Web was born at CERN. More recently, several hadron therapy facilities for cancer treatment have been built in collaboration with CERN. (read the article)

How can be particle physics useful to build facilities for cancer treatment? Experimental particle physics requires the creation of particle beams with accelerators. Hadron therapy facilities are made of accelerated particle beams that are focused on the cancer and destroy cancer cells. read more

Why particle physics technology has many application areas? Particle physics experiments are very complex — A particle physics experiment needs the most innovative discoveries of material science, computing science and engineering.

The knowledge acquired for these experiments can be exported to industry and many other areas — The web was originally developed to meet the demand for automatic information-sharing between scientists in universities and institutes around the world.

Hadron therapy projects started more than 20 years ago —Several projects for the use of hadron beams in cancer treatment were approved and led to the creation of functional medical centres that are presently treating patients . read more


Initial clinical experience with scanned proton beams at the Italian National Center for Hadrontherapy (CNAO).

Abstract: We report the initial toxicity data with scanned proton beams at the Italian National Center for Hadrontherapy (CNAO). In September 2011, CNAO commenced patient treatment with scanned proton beams within two prospective Phase II protocols approved by the Italian Health Ministry. Patients with chondrosarcoma or chordoma of the skull base or spine were eligible. By October 2012, 21 patients had completed treatment. Immobilization was performed using rigid non-perforated thermoplastic-masks and customized headrests or body-pillows as indicated. Non-contrast CT scans with immobilization devices in place and MRI scans in supine position were performed for treatment-planning. For chordoma, the prescribed doses were 74 cobalt grey equivalent (CGE) and 54 CGE to planning target volume 1 (PTV1) and PTV2, respectively. For chondrosarcoma, the prescribed doses were 70 CGE and 54 CGE to PTV1 and PTV2, respectively. Treatment was delivered five days a week in 35-37 fractions. Prior to treatment, the patients' positions were verified using an optical tracking system and orthogonal X-ray images. Proton beams were delivered using fixed-horizontal portals on a robotic couch. Weekly MRI incorporating diffusion-weighted-imaging was performed during the course of proton therapy. Patients were reviewed once weekly and acute toxicities were graded with the Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events (CTCAE). Median age of patients = 50 years (range, 21-74). All 21 patients completed the proton therapy without major toxicities and without treatment interruption. Median dose delivered was 74 CGE (range, 70-74). The maximum toxicity recorded was CTCAE Grade 2 in four patients. Our preliminary data demonstrates the clinical feasibility of scanned proton beams in Italy.

Pub.: 17 Jul '13, Pinned: 11 Apr '17

The National Centre for Oncological Hadrontherapy (CNAO): Status and perspectives.

Abstract: The National Centre for Oncological Hadrontherapy (CNAO, sited in Pavia, Italy) completed at the end of 2013 the clinical trial phase achieving the CE label from the notified body of the Italian Health Ministry and obtained the authorisation to treat patients within the national health system. Nowadays more than 400 patients completed the treatments, two thirds of them with carbon ions, and recently started the treatment of pathologies located within moving organs. For the first time in the world carbon ions delivered with active scanning, coupled with breathing synchronisation and rescanning modalities have been applied to treat patients affected by tumours of the liver and by pancreatic cancers. The path to reach the final CE label required a wide-ranging experimental activity that went through dosimetry measurements of the hadron beams, in-vitro and in-vivo radiobiology essays and treatments of 150 patients, all enrolled in one of the 23 clinical trials approved by the Ethical Committee of CNAO and then authorized by the Italian Ministry of Health. The results of the trials were very positive in terms of safety and reliability of the procedures. The follow-up period is still short, but preliminary good results are observed in particular in terms of limited toxicity, that on the whole is less than expected. The paper gives a status report on the experimental phase that completed the CE certification process and then outlines the ongoing activities with also indications on the future trends and the most interesting R&D programmes pursued at CNAO.

Pub.: 05 Apr '15, Pinned: 11 Apr '17