Innovative ideas and technologies from physics have contributed to great advances in the field of medicine over the last 100 years, since the advent of radiation-based medical diagnosis and treatment following the discovery of X-rays and radioactivity. Nowadays, state-of-the-art techniques derived from particle accelerators, detectors and computing are routinely used in clinical practice and medical research centres: from technology for PET scanners and dedicated accelerators for cancer therapy, to simulation and data analysis tools.
Hadron therapy uses protons and other ions to treat tumours, rather than X-rays as in conventional radiation therapy.
Radioisotopes are used in precision medicine to diagnose cancers, as well as other diseases such as heart irregularities, and to deliver very small radiation doses exactly where they are needed.
Advances made to particle detectors at CERN and elsewhere have continuously fuelled new developments in medical imaging.
Particle detectors also have important applications in the field of dosimetry, where novel technologies can considerably improve the performance and reliability of dose monitoring procedures.
CERN is tackling the challenges of collection, storage and processing of ever-larger data sets, expertise which benefits the medical field. Simulation codes, developed for HEP, have become vital when modelling the effects of radiation on living tissues.
Other CERN know-how and technologies are available for transfer to the medical community for use in many different healthcare fields.
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Medical Applications Section