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CERN: HIT - A New Dimension In Cancer Therapy ... Spotlight on CERN - LHC News: A short tour of HIT - The Heidelberg Ion Beam Therapy Center. --- Please SUBSCRIBE to Science & Reason: • • • --- HIT: A new dimension in radiotherapy HIT is the world's first heavy ion therapy facility with a movable radiation source (gantry). The beam head can be rotated by 360° around the patient. Numerous angles of irradiation can be selected. HIT is the world's first ion therapy facility using the Intensity-controlled Rasterscan technique which offers the highest level precision in the three-dimensional radiation of tumors ever reached in the world. HIT is the first hospital-based treatment facility at a clinic in Europe where patients can be treated with protons as well as with various heavy ions (helium, carbon and oxygen ions). Ions offer the highest precision in tumor irradiation. Heavy ions also have a greater destructive power than the conventional radiation therapy. HIT ist the first therapy facility in the world that is equipped with robot-controlled treatment tables. This guaratees the highest level of precision in positioning the patient under the radiation source. • --- Heidelberg Ion Therapy Centre (HIT) A new cancer therapy facility developed at the GSI Centre for Heavy Ion Research has begun routine operations. Ion beam therapy is precise, effective and gentle. It offers better chances of a cure, shorter treatment cycles and fewer side effects. The ion beams penetrate the body and exert their full impact deep in the tissue, where they can precisely hit pinhead-sized tumour clusters. To reach the tumour, the ions are accelerated to about three quarters the speed of light, or almost one billion km/h. The ion beams are steered with millimetre accuracy. The surrounding healthy tissue remains mostly unaffected, which makes the method ideal for treating deep-seated tumours close to vital organs. Before treating the first patient, GSI scientists spent decades doing basic research on the radiobiological effects of ions and on developing a technique to target the tumour precisely and safely. "Initially, it was thought impossible. We succeeded thanks to the collaboration between various disciplines," says Gerhard Kraft, initiator and pioneer of ion beam therapy. Approximately 1,300 patients can be treated at HIT each year. Since 1997, 440 patients have been treated with carbon ion beams at the GSI. Clinical studies record a cure rate of up to 90%. At the heart of HIT lies an accelerator built for therapeutic use and adapted to medical routine operation. The three treatment areas at HIT are located next to the accelerators, two of which advance the GSI technology. The third area features a rotating ion beam guidance system with which the beam can be fired at the patient's tumour from any angle, thus vastly enhancing the treatment options. HIT is operated by the University Hospital Heidelberg, where a special building is home to the new facility. With the exception of Japan, Germany is the only country to offer such a unique cancer treatment. Under a licence agreement between the GSI and Siemens AG, two more facilities modelled on HIT are under construction in Marburg and Kiel. • --- Heidelberg Ion Therapy Centre opens The Heidelberg Ion Therapy Centre (HIT) celebrated its opening at the Heidelberg University Hospital on 2 November. Developed with scientists and engineers at GSI in Darmstadt, the novel ion-beam cancer therapy facility is now ready to treat large numbers of patients, some 1300 a year. HIT uses beams of ions, i.e. positively charged carbon or hydrogen atoms, which penetrate the body and exert their full impact deep within the tissue (CERN Courier December 2006 p17). To reach the tumour tissue, the ion beams are accelerated and then steered with such precision that they can irradiate a tumour the size of a tennis ball with millimetre accuracy, point by point. The surrounding healthy tissue remains mostly unaffected, so the method is particularly suited for treating deep-seated tumours that are close to vital or important organs such as the brain stem or the optic nerve. The new facility has grown out of pioneering work at GSI, which has conducted fundamental research in radiobiology, nuclear physics and accelerator technology for therapeutic uses since 1980. The construction of a pilot ion-therapy project at GSI began in 1993 in a collaboration between GSI, the Heidelberg University Hospital, the Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum in Heidelberg and the Forschungszentrum Dresden-Rossendorf. • .
Length: 03:19


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