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Marek Woźniak, Marszałek Województwa Wielkopolskiego, prof. Julian Malicki, dyrektor WCO i prof. Krzysztof Kurek, dyrektor NCBJ (na zdjęciu od lewej)

The Wielkopolska Oncology Center (WCO) presented two projects implemented jointly with the NCBJ and financed from the funds for science of the Wielkopolska Region. A completely new solution is the FLASH electron accelerator, which sends microsecond therapeutic impulses with a dose rate of several dozen grays per second or higher. Next year, after building a test stand in Świerk and delivering it to Poznań, pre-clinical trials with the use of this device will begin.

The use of ultra-short, intense electron beams is a completely new idea in oncology. World reports on the results of preclinical studies and the first clinical trials are promising. The dose rate used here is thousands of times higher than that typically used in radiotherapy. Only „flashes” lasting a few microseconds are used for irradiation (hence the name FLASH). Thanks to such a short exposure time, the total dose absorbed by the body remains at a safe level. It is expected that by using impulses of a targeted, very intense beam of electrons with a limited range in the body, it will be possible to achieve greater effectiveness in destroying neoplastic lesions and less burdensomeness for the patient. This method should also be safer for healthy tissues.

In the cases described so far in the world literature, adapted traditional accelerators for radiotherapy were used to test the method. The project carried out by NCBJ together with the WCO assumes the construction of a research station equipped with a dedicated accelerator operating in the impulse mode. The Institute of Nuclear Chemistry and Technology (IChTJ), responsible for dosimetry measurements, also participates in the project.

The accelerator built in Świerk is to deliver impulses with a dose rate above 40 Gy/s. Their length should be about 5 microseconds. The contractors plan that the stand will be launched at the WCO by the middle of next year. Then, preclinical studies on biological material will begin, allowing for the determination of optimal therapeutic conditions.

The FLASH type accelerator will be built on the basis of an earlier NCBJ and WCO project, under which an intraoperative accelerator was built, allowing for irradiation in the operating room immediately after surgical removal of the main part of the tumor. Clinical trials of this device will also start at WCO next year.

On November 15, both projects were presented at a press conference organized at the WCO. It was attended by: Mr. Marek Woźniak, Marshal of the Wielkopolska Region, prof. Julian Malicki, director of the WCO and prof. Krzysztof Kurek, director of NCBJ (in order in the photo from the left). The total amount of EU funding for both projects under the Wielkopolska Regional Operational Program for 2014-2020 is 11 million zloty (PLN).

After the press conference, doctors, scientists and engineers from the collaborating institutions presented details of the projects at a short scientific conference.

Marek Woźniak, Marszałek Województwa Wielkopolskiego, prof. Julian Malicki, dyrektor WCO i prof. Krzysztof Kurek, dyrektor NCBJ (na zdjęciu od lewej)