Radiotherapy is the medical use of ionizing radiations to treat cancer. Conventional radiotherapy uses X-rays (high-energy photons) administered to the patient in order to destroy tumorous cells.
When these radiation beams consist of charged particles (protons and other ions such as carbon), this radiation therapy is known as hadrontherapy. Hadrontherapy strength lies in the unique physical and radiobiological properties of these particles. Indeed they can penetrate tissues with little diffusion and can deposit a maximum of energy just before stopping. This allows a precise balistic of the specific region to be irradiated. Tumor can be efficiently irradiated while damages to healthy tissues are lower than those done with X-rays.
To enable the consolidation of all medical, scientific and technical teams involved in hadrontherapy in France, the actors, mainly federated by universities and national public research institutions (CNRS, CEA, INSERM, IRSN ) have gathered themselves to present a project in response to the call for projects "National biology and Health Infrastructure" called France HADRON. In April 2012, the project gets the label Future Investment and was financed with 15M €.
France HADRON aims are to:
1. coordinate and organize the national program of research and training in hadrontherapy. This program goes from the physics of particle to clinical research through dosimetry, radiation biology, imaging, control of positioning target, and quality control instruments;
2. organize, facilitate and finance the access of the researchers to the particle beams required for the experimental work;
3. finance certain methodological research to increase the research-platforms efficiencies;
4. finance part of the equipment and research buildings platforms;
5. and finally ensure participation in international programs such as those already existing and highly invested by the French teams: ENLIGHT, Partner, ULICE, ENVISION, ENTERVISION.
Research is distributed throughout France and concerns over twenty research teams. In France HADRON, nodes are a geographical grouping of research teams around a therapy or research plateform, existing or in project. France HADRON relies on 5 nodes, Lyon (FHARA), Caen (ARCHADE), Orsay (ICPO), Nice (CAL) and Toulouse (Pericles).
Géographic localization of the France HADRON nodes
Working packages:Hadrontherapy opens new ways for innovation and improvement of radiotherapy. This requires efforts in research and development. Research within the FranceHADRON infrastructure, multidisciplinary and cooperative, is organized in four thematic, called Working Packages: