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Current Challenges and Prospects in Particle Therapy

J Farr1*, K Parodi2*, (1) Athens, GA, (2) Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munchen, Garching B. Munich


(Monday, 7/15/2019) 2:45 PM - 3:45 PM

Room: Stars at Night Ballroom 4

The use of particle therapy by radiation oncologists in the US and worldwide has grown rapidly over the past decade, more than 70 years after R.R. Wilson first proposed the use of protons and heavier ions for radiotherapy. Historically, radiotherapy has developed empirically through the gradual advancement and implementation of new physics technology at a limited number of specialized research institutions. The widespread clinical implementation of particle therapy in the hospital setting has presented many challenges and opportunities. Current and future technological developments are essential to the advancement of the field and will impact an increasing number of patients being treated worldwide. In this Educational Session, the speakers will identify key areas within particle therapy where development is urgently needed and provide scientific and clinical opportunities for advancement of the field. These include prospects in the areas of technological innovation, biological optimization, and the quantification of uncertainty. For example, the size and cost of particle therapy systems and their operation continue to limit the growth of the modality. Technical limitations associated with the rate of treatment delivery, the efficiency of the treatment process, and the clinically achievable level of dose conformality often hinder the advancement of particle therapy. Improvements required to overcome these challenges will be discussed including novel advancements in beam production and transport systems. Another major challenge facing the particle therapy community is the quantification and reduction of treatment uncertainties. These include physical and biological uncertainties that are still a major obstacle to the full exploitation of the advantages of particle beams for patient care. Advanced treatment planning strategies may simultaneously consider uncertainties in particle range, patient positioning, and the predication of particle relative biological effectiveness. Identifying gaps of knowledge in underlying radiobiology and the potential impact on clinical patient outcomes is also vital. In vivo range verification is an important method of quantification of the total treatment accuracy. Methods for direct verification in the patient will be reviewed which rely on pretreatment range and tissue probing and detection of secondary emissions or physiological changes during treatment. In summary, this educational session will review the current challenges and future opportunities in particle therapy, providing guidance for the Medical Physics community in the clinical and research settings.

Learning Objectives:
1. To understand some of the common technical limitations associated with particle therapy delivery systems and operations
2. To review potential technological improvements that can be used to overcome these challenges
3. To discuss the quantification and reduction of physical and biological uncertainties in particle therapy treatment

Funding Support, Disclosures, and Conflict of Interest: Jonathan Farr holds a senior management position at ADAM SA, Meyrin, Switzerland, and is a shareholder in Advanced Oncotherapy, plc, London, UK. Katia Parodi has a research collaboration and license agreement with RaySearch Laboratories.



Protons, Heavy Ions


TH- External Beam- Particle therapy: Other particle therapy

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