Cancer is a major social problem and it is the main cause of death between the ages 45-65 years. In the treatment of cancer, radio therapy (RT) plays an essential role. RT with hadrons (protons and light ions), due to their unique physical and radiobiological properties, offers several advantages over photons for specific cancer types. In particular, they penetrate the patient with minimal diffusion, they deposit maximum energy at the end of their range, and they can be shaped as narrow focused and scanned pencil beams of variable penetration depth. Although significant progress has been made in the use of particle beams for cancer treatment, an extensive research and development program is still needed to maximize the healthcare benefits from these therapies.
The Optimization of Medical Accelerators (OMA) was the aim of this European Training Network. The project joined universities, research centers and ion beam treatment facilities with industry partners to address the challenges in treatment facility design and optimization, numerical simulations for the development of advanced treatment schemes, and in beam imaging and treatment monitoring.
The network consisted of an international consortium of more than 30 partner organisations including universities, research centres and private companies working in this field.
Within OMA, the project partners carried out research across three scientific work packages. These covered beam imaging and diagnostics, treatment optimization and facility design and optimization.
A total of 15 Fellows were recruited and became part of larger scientific teams.
The project provided a wide ranging training programme comprising schools, workshops and an international conference. Most of these events were open to external delegates and it was also possible for additional 'adjunct' partners from around the world to join this initiative.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 675265.