The Cyclotron Centre Bronowice – Cancer Radiotherapy and Basic Research Combined - NAWA

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The Cyclotron Centre Bronowice (CCB) at the Henryk Niewodniczański Institute of Nuclear Physics, Polish Academy of Sciences, in Kraków (IFJ PAN) is an ultramodern, state-of-the-art equipped research centre.

THE MAIN ACTIVITY of CCB is cancer radiotherapy using active proton scanning beams – a unique up-to-date technique worldwide. The CCB activities rely on the two available proton cyclotrons: an inhouse constructed 60 Mev AIC-144 cyclotron and a dedicated, IBA-produced 230 MeV Proteus C-235 cyclotron – where the energy of its proton beam may be continuously varied from 70 to 230 MeV. In proton radiotherapy, the beams produced by these cyclotrons achieve much more precise alignment of delivered therapeutic dose distributions with the tumour volume than that possible in conventional radiotherapy using megavolt X-ray beams. This makes the irradiation procedure much safer for the patient as unwanted irradiation of healthy tissues and critical organs (such as the spinal cord), located in close vicinity of the treated tumour volumes, is avoided.

Precision of the Gantry Beam

In the treatment of tumours, the latest gantry technology is used, where the scanning proton beam can be directed at any angle by a rotating arm. Two such arms - or gantries – are available at CCB. The precision of gantry beam delivery is better than 1 mm. To treat tumours located within the patients eyeball, a fixed horizontal 70 MeV proton beam is used at CCB, where the delivery precision is about 0.1 mm.

‘Worldwide, CCB is one of the very few facilities where basic research can be performed along with its main activity – proton radiotherapy,’ explains Professor Marek Jeżabek, General Director of IFJ PAN.

Basic research at CCB is carried out in the areas of nuclear physics, nuclear detectors, materials engineering, medical physics, clinical dosimetry and radiobiology. Of particular interest in such experiments is the ability to precisely tune the energy of the proton beam over the energy range 70-230 MeV. For example, the response (e.g. survival) of biological material, or defects in electronic circuits after their irradiation, may be tested using proton beams of different energies.

‘Energetic protons are abundantly present in cosmic space, so such investigations are of importance to space and aviation industries and to radiation protection of cosmonauts in space or flight-crews during long-distance high-altitude commercial flights,’ adds Professor Marek Jeżabek.

Research and Commercial Services

Radioactive isotopes for research purposes are produced at CCB. CCB also offers commercial services, such as radiation tests of new materials, biological substances, nuclear detectors applied in physics and in medicine, space industry electronics.

The CCB infrastructure lends itself to international cooperation – it is used 24/7 by international research teams from almost all countries in Europe and teams on other continents, for example in the United States or Japan.

The Henryk Niewodniczański Institute

of Nuclear Physics PAS

Cyclotron Centre Bronowice