£3 Million European Training Network for Particle Beam Cancer Therapy Launched

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Optimization of Medical Accelerators
Optimization of Medical Accelerators

The Optimization of Medical Accelerators (OMA) started officially on 1 February 2016. OMA is an international collaboration of 31 institutions which during the four year project duration will train 15 early stage researchers in the field of particle beam therapy for cancer treatment.

All project partners gathered for the Kick-off Meeting organized on 24th – 26th February at the University of Liverpool which also leads the project from the Cockcroft Institute. The research leaders presented summaries of their anticipated contributions and details about their research projects.

Image: Optimization of Medical Accelerators Project Partners

The meeting was chaired by the network coordinator, Prof. Carsten P. Welsch, who together with his dedicated EU TEAM introduced the partners to the specific rules and regulations of the Horizon 2020 framework, the project time plan, milestones and deliverables, planned project events and the network wide communication and outreach plans. He said: “We had a very positive atmosphere during the entire meeting and many fruitful discussions around research projects, fellows’ recruitment and training events. All partners are looking forward to the many opportunities OMA will provide.”

OMA will train 15 early stage researchers to carry out research into treatment facility design, numerical simulations for the development of advanced therapies and novel imaging and beam diagnostic techniques.

Prof. Welsch explains: “A growing body of clinical evidence shows that there is great potential for proton and ion treatment, particularly for treatment of cancers in children and where tumours are close to vital organs. The goal now is to maximise the therapeutic efficiency while reducing as much as possible the damage to surrounding tissues. The big challenge is to reduce the size and the cost of these accelerators while improving their performance. This will require expanding horizons beyond the current technologies. New types of accelerating structures and beam delivery systems, advanced simulation tools and beyond state-of the-art beam diagnostics for monitoring all important beam parameters are among the approaches being explored in the OMA initiative.”

Research Fellows within OMA will have the opportunity to work at the forefront of science, participate in numerous training events and benefit from networking and various collaboration opportunities. The network is currently looking for candidates for its 15 vacant Fellowship positions at institutions across Europe.

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.