UMCG Treats First Patient with Proton Therapy

Proton International is very excited to announce that UMCG has treated its first patient with Proton Therapy. Please acknowledge the accomplishment by reading their press release below.

Note: This is a translation of the original article posted by UMCG here.

After years of preparation, it is finally time: yesterday the treatment of the first patients with proton therapy started in the UMCG. The new radiation treatments for patients with cancer went very well. The UMCG proton therapy center is the first center that offers this therapy in the Netherlands. This means that patients no longer have to go abroad - weeks away from home and their loved ones - to be irradiated with protons, but can now undergo treatment at home.

In the past three years, the UMCG site has been built on an impressive center with meter-thick concrete walls, floors and roof, a 220-tonne particle accelerator and the most modern irradiation equipment. In the meantime, dozens of laboratory technicians and clinical physicists have been appointed and trained, national indication protocols have been developed and a virtual proton center has been extensively practiced to prepare as well as possible for the careful treatment of patients. Watch the video about the construction of the proton therapy center below.

Referral patients

With proton therapy, the dose of radiation can be administered very accurately to a tumor, resulting in less radiation in the surrounding healthy tissues and the chance of side effects decreasing. The therapy mainly offers added value for children with cancer and patients with basic skull tumors and eye tumors, but other patients with cancer can benefit, such as patients with tumors in the head and neck area. A doctor determines on the basis of national indication protocols whether a proton treatment for a patient offers added value over the current radiation treatment with photons. It is expected that approximately 5-10% of the approximately 60,000 patients who are irradiated in the Netherlands per year are eligible for the new therapy.

For the referral of patients, the UMCG works closely with other radiotherapy institutions in the region. As the only center in the Netherlands, it treats children with proton therapy. For this, intensive collaboration is being carried out with Princess Máxima Center in Utrecht. The number of patients that will treat the UMCG with proton therapy will gradually increase to 600 per year. The proton therapy center is part of the UMC Groningen Cancer Center, where oncology patients are offered all available treatments in one place.

Research on protons

Proton therapy is an example of the development of innovative diagnostics and treatments in the UMCG and one of the pillars of scientific research. At the UMCG, the first professor with the chair of proton therapy in the Netherlands, Stefan Both, was appointed last year.

Together with MAASTRO Clinic, HollandPTC, other university medical centers, the NKI / Antonie van Leeuwenhoek and the Princess Máxima Center, the UMCG will develop an infrastructure for research into the effectiveness and added value of proton therapy. The centers will set up a joint database that will include the clinical outcomes of all patients treated with proton therapy in the Netherlands.