Radiation Therapy with Protons and Heavy Ions

  • Oliver Jäkel


The first proton therapy patient was treated in Berkeley at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratories (LBL) in 1954 and proton therapy celebrates its 60th birthday in 2014 [10]. It is, however, only in the last decade that the number of patients that received proton therapy in dedicated clinical centers is increasing more rapidly. The PTCOG website currently lists 42 proton therapy centers in operation as of August 2014 and 24 new centers currently under construction (see Heavier ions have also been used first for cancer treatment at LBL in 1957, starting with helium ion treatments and in 1977 with the heavier ions carbon, silicon, neon, and argon [10]. Inspired from the Berkeley experience, the first clinical ion facility in Chiba, Japan, used solely carbon ions for radiotherapy and celebrates its 20th birthday in 2014. Overall 8 facilities worldwide offer carbon treatments, 4 new facilities are under construction (PTCOG lists 3, but an additional facility exists in Marburg), and several projects are in preparation (Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia). It is expected that also carbon ion therapy will be of increasing importance in the future. In this contribution the differences between protons and heavier ions arising from physical and biological characteristics are highlighted and their implications for therapy planning are discussed. The clinical status of carbon ion therapy is summarized and some possible future developments are outlined.


Proton Therapy Biological Effective Dose Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory Depth Dose Curve Depth Dose Distribution 
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Copyright information

© Springer India 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Medical PhysicsGerman Cancer Research CenterHeidelbergGermany
  2. 2.Heidelberg Ion Beam Therapy CenterUniversity Hospital HeidelbergHeidelbergGermany

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