Types of research
The proton therapy centre includes 2 areas, the so-called bunkers. One is used for the treatment of patients and clinical research, the other for more applied, preclinical research.
In the current set-up there are two separate particle accelerators: one for the clinical bunker and one for the research bunker. This way, both bunkers can operate completely independent from one another.
This unique set-up offers several benefits:
- Research can be performed during working hours.
- Complex test set-ups can remain for some time.
- Preclinical research in cells and test animals is possible.
Within the context of research into the possible increase in the number of patients that can be treated with proton therapy, quite a number of clinical trials will be performed. These include:
- Planning trials: by using mathematical models it is possible to predict the possible reduction in side effects for a individual patient when using proton therapy instead of photon therapy. Clinical trials will be set up to fine-tune and validate these models.
- Randomised trials to show the added value of proton therapy in comparison to photon therapy for tumour control.
- Registration trials: the objective of this type of registration is to collect more knowledge about the outcome of the treatment with proton therapy, such as tumour control and potential (late) side effects (e.g. E2-RADIatE – ParticleCare cohort).
Research will be performed in close collaboration with various national and international leading academic centres and research institutes (such as e.g. SCK∙CEN, the Study Centre for Nuclear Energy in Mol), as well as industrial partners (such as IBA, the supplier of the proton therapy device). The proton therapy centre is part of the European Particle Therapy Network’ (EPTN).
Participating in research
If you qualify for participating in a specific trial, the attending radiation-oncologist or researcher will ask you if you to take part. He/she will inform you about the trial, both verbally and written.
Participation in a trial is voluntary and can never be done under pressure. This means that you have the right to decline to take part in the trial. Your decision will not impact the relationship with the researcher or the attending physician, nor will it influence the quality of your future medical care.
For the reimbursment of the proton therapy treatment by the NIHDI there is mandatory registration of the (follow-up) data with the Stichting Kankerregister.