On March 9th, 2017 North-Rhine Westphalian minister for the economy Mr. Garrelt Duin awarded Varian Medical Systems Particle Therapy GmbH (Varian PT) with research funds amounting to about 10 million Euros. The funding is being used for the further development of proton therapy, which today is the most targeted form of radiation therapy in cancer treatment.
Proton therapy provides a unique treatment for cancer patients and specific advantages for paediatric patients. This advanced non-invasive therapy helps to reduce side effects and is a major step forward in the fight against cancer worldwide. The investment will be used to make the technology accessible to a larger group of patients around the globe.
The funding comes from the European Regional Development Fund (EFRD/EFRE). In NRW, it is used in particular to finance measures which increase the competitiveness of companies and help to create jobs in small and medium-sized enterprises.
Varian’s goal is to develop an economically more efficient, lighter and more compact proton therapy system (i.e. with significant space savings and a massive reduction in production costs) while maintaining the power spectrum available today and the achievable effectiveness. To complete the claim for cost efficiency for a lighter proton therapy system, the required installation and commissioning procedures must be optimized and automated. Such a system would be unique in terms of treatment quality and cost efficiency and is not offered by competitors.
Two projects are subject of this application:
1. Pro Gantry: the development and prototype construction of a lightweight, modular, isocentrically rotating and fully equipped gantry proton therapy system with uncompromised beam and treatment qualities (compared to the state of the art machine)
2. Pro Cyc: the development and prototype construction of an isochronous superconducting ultra-compact 230 MeV proton cyclotron with high magnetic field and high beam current on the other hand.
The third project is Pro HiTeC:
Development and experimental evaluation of high-temperature superconductors including coils and winding concepts for gantries and cyclotrons
The implementation of all projects is planned for the period from February 1st 2017 to December 31st 2019.