Protontherapy gains more and more importance as an alternative treatment modality to radiotherapy with photons for specific types of patients and cancers. Compared to photons, protons deposit their energy in a much more localized area, which allows for both more focused tumor targeting and reduced side effects.

The course builds upon 4 pillars:

Pillar 1: radiation oncology.

  • Basis of cancer and carcinogenesis

  • Treating cancer with radiations: principles and elements of radiobiology

  • Main steps of a radiotherapy workflow

  • Introduction to particle therapy: principles and current status

  • Radioprotection: treatment facility shielding, personnel and patient protection

  • Health economics: treatment options and patient referral, reimbursement and impact on social security service.

Pillar 2: technologies for protontherapy. This pillar provides a specific focus on the proton beam delivery process, i.e. from proton generation and acceleration (synchrotron/cyclotron) to energy deposition into a well-defined location in the patient, including magnetic beam steering.

  • Producing and accelerating protons: cyclotrons and synchrotrons

  • Detailed design of cyclotrons (and synchro-cyclotrons)

  • Beamlines, magneto-optics

  • Robotics: rotating structures, positioning systems

  • Therapeutic beam: pencil beam scanning

  • Safety and quality assurance in medical technologies : safety automats, interlocks, redundancies, beam measurement devices (monitor ion chambers) and beam data analysis

Pillar 3: ancillary technologies for proton therapy. This pillar covers the devices and data flows associated with treatment preparation, execution, and verification, with all their specificities, compared to conventional radiotherapy treatment (X-rays).

  • Treatment planning system (TPS), oncology information system (OIS), imaging; the role of software integration

  • Dose calculation including analytical and Monte Carlo dose engines, treatment optimization, treatment robustness against uncertainties, and robust optimization

  • Imaging in or out of the room (computed tomography (CT), on-board cone-beam CT (CBCT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)). Image reconstruction and analyses.

  • Range verification: prompt gamma camera, proton radiography, positron emission tomography (PET))

Pillar 4: treatments of the future.

  • Image guidance: status and perspectives, and the way towards adaptive treatments

  • Overcoming challenges of PT: innovation tracks (range uncertainties, proton imaging, etc.)

  • Emerging treatments: introduction to ion beam therapy

  • Emerging treatments: combining radiations and medication