One of the biggest challenges in connecting physics with Medical Applications activities is to bridge the gaps between the traditionally separate communities of clinicians, physicists, biologists, IT experts and engineers. For this reason, the European Network for Light Ion Therapy (ENLIGHT) was established in 2002 to coordinate the European efforts in hadron therapy. The ENLIGHT network now involves more than 300 participants from twenty European countries, including a number of CERN scientists.
ENLIGHT has been instrumental in starting a series of initiatives in which CERN is playing a catalysing role.
This conference is a new reality in healthcare, as it brings together two major events in the multidisciplinary field where medicine, biology and physics intersect: the International Conference on Translational Research in Radiation Oncology (ICTR) and CERN’s Physics for Health workshop. More information about this conference can be found on the ICTR-PHE 2016 website.
Following the first “Physics for Health” workshop, doctors and physicists published a strategy document describing the main issues presented and discussed, and indicating the most promising avenues forward. In this context, CERN was asked to lead three specific actions: the design and implementation of a new research facility for biomedical uses, a new study for compact and low-cost accelerators for particle therapy, and the establishment of a European distributed user facility for the production of radioisotopes.
State-of-the-art techniques borrowed from particle accelerators and detectors are increasingly used in the medical field for the early diagnosis and treatment of tumors and other diseases. Yet medical doctors and physicists lack occasions to get together and discuss global strategies. The “Physics for Health in Europe” workshop organised by CERN in 2010 represented one of the first attempts to develop synergies between these two communities.
The workshop aimed at developing a European roadmap to foster physics applications in the fields of disease prevention, diagnosis, therapy, and prognosis.