For two and a half years, particle therapy for cancer treatment has successfully been used at MedAustron in Wiener Neustadt, Austria. The centre completed its first year as an operating cancer treatment facility in 2017, after having started patient treatments in December 2016. MedAustron continued to increase the number of patients treated and expanded the range of indications in 2018, since a vertical beamline was put into clinical operation in mid-2018.
Whereas patients were previously treated exclusively with protons, a major milestone was reached in 2019, with the availability of carbon ion therapy. Currently, there are only six centres worldwide treating tumours with both protons and carbon ions, amongst them, MedAustron.
The design of the MedAustron accelerator complex is based on the CERN-led Proton Ion Medical Machine Study (PIMMS) and its further development and technical implementation by CERN, the TERA Foundation, the Italian National Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN) and the CNAO Foundation. CERN staff have helped building up a team of engineers and technicians employed by EBG MedAustron, as well as training them at CERN. Together, they designed the particle accelerator and built and procured its components, in some cases also relying on the expertise and technical design of CNAO. Substantial help was also provided by the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI), in particular for the gantry and beam delivery design.
The expertise of the CERN specialists continues to be an important source of knowledge for the work of the MedAustron experts. The cooperation between CERN and MedAustron also takes place via the MEDICIS-PROMED Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network.
Find out more at medaustron.at
For previous features on MedAustron, see the CERN Bulletin articles A Marvel of Precision: MedAustron and The MedAustron Project: An Example of Large-scale Technology Transfer