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The Clínica Universidad de Navarra opens its Proton Therapy Unit.

The Proton Therapy Unit incorporates the first Hitachi synchrotron in Europe, considered the most modern accelerator. available

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PHOTO: Manuel Castells
07/05/20 13:14

The Clínica Universidad de Navarra opened the new Protontherapy Unit at its Madrid headquarters on April 2, and has begun to evaluate and treat patients in recent days. The first patient, who started treatment on April 17, is a woman affected by a recurrent tumor of digestive origin in a previously radiated area, which requires super-precise dosimetry. "It is an opportunity to control her 17-year disease," says Dr. Felipe Calvo, director of the Proton Therapy Unit.

The Clinic's Proton Therapy Unit is the first in an in-hospital Cancer Center in Spain, and incorporates a Hitachi synchrotron, whose technology is present in 32 clinical and academic centers, among which are international references in cancer treatment, such as the Mayo Clinic, MD Anderson, John's Hopkins, St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital or Hokkaido University Hospital. Hitachi's proton therapy technology has treated more than 60,000 patients worldwide.

It incorporates, as a particle accelerator, a synchrotron, currently the most modern available and much more energy efficient, since it produces less secondary radiation. 

It is considered, in this sense, a "clean" accelerator, since it allows accelerating the proton beam just to the energy required to reach the tumor of each patient individually, without requiring artificial filters for the generation of the "braking" process (by changing the energy selected by the synchrotron for the beam itself).

The Clinic's equipment includes a system that allows proton treatment of tumors subject to respiratory motion, a solution that is fully integrated into the instrument system. Real-time tracking is able to locate and quantify tumor movement, and synchronize the instant of irradiation to achieve minimal impact on healthy tissue.