The proton centre will consist of two treatment room vaults where a proton beam is available. One is used for treating patients and clinical research, the other will be used for more applied, preclinical research.
The current set-up also provides two separate particle accelerators (cyclotrons): one for the clinical room and one for the research room. This way, both bunkers can operate completely independently from one another.
This unique set-up has several benefits:
- Research can be performed during the day simultaneous with the use of the clinical room.
- Complex experimental set-ups can stay into place for an extended period of time
- It allows preclinical research in cells and on lab animals.
Also clinical trials will be conducted with the final goal to increase the number of patients that could benefit from proton therapy.These include:
- By using mathematical models, it is possible to predict the possible reduction of side effects for every patient individualy when proton therapy is used compared to photon therapy. Clinical trials will be initiated to refine and validate these models (the so-called model-based indications).
- Randomised trials to show the added value of proton therapy in comparison to photon therapy as far as tumour control is concerned (potential indications).
- Apply proton therapy in order to prevent secondary tumours in young cancer patients (< 50 years) who have a relatively good prognosis.