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How can tiny particles help fight cancer?

The Dresden OncoRay Centre: Modern Radiotherapy in a strong Alliance

Protons are smaller than an atom and are nonetheless a potent weapon against cancer cells.

Dresden-based doctors use these charged particles to irradiate tumours. Proton beams are capable of destroying malignant tumours with higher precision while better protecting the surrounding healthy tissue than conventional X-rays. This ensures a precise spatial control of the treatment. In order to produce proton beams, large and expensive accelerators are required.

The University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus is one of only three university locations in Germany, where this treatment method is offered. With the aim of advancing research in radiotherapy, the University Hospital, the Technische Universit├Ąt Dresden and the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have joined forces at the OncoRay Centre, which is unique in the world.

Their goal: to make the sophisticated radiotherapy technology more compact and more affordable. The acceleration of particles with laser light could be one solution. While the HZDR is working on the technological prerequisites, the university medical experts research the effect of laser-accelerated particle beams. In close collaboration, they are also searching for methods to measure the proton dosage during therapy.