Christoph-Schmelzer-Prize awarded for the twelfth time
On February 4, 2010 Dr. Andrea Mairani from the University of Pavia / Italy and Dr. Hiroyuki Nose from the National Institute of Radiological Science Chiba / Japan were honored with the Christoph-Schmelzer-Prize 2009. The prize, endowed with 3000 Euro, was shared between the two scientists for their work in the field of cancer therapy with heavy ions. This award is bestowed annually by the Verein zur Förderung der Tumortherapie mit schweren Ionen e.V. (Association for the promotion of tumor therapy with heavy ions) for the best graduate and doctoral thesis in this area. For both candidates spoke in their favour, that the results of their research can be transferred directly from an application oriented approach in research, to the treatment of affected people. The GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research is the good place for this ceremony because this extraordinary form of therapy was born at the centre.
The work of Dr. Andrea Mairani and Dr. Hiroyuki Nose will enable better planning for the treatment of cancer at the Heidelberg Ion Beam Therapy Centre (HIT). Mairani's work focused on the calculation of the biological aspects of nuclear physical side effects of this exceptional treatment, whereas Nose dealt with the scattering effects of the ion beam, both theoretically and experimentally.
Dr. Stephanie Combs, Director of Neuro-Radiology and Oncology Group at the Department of Radiation Oncology and Radiotherapy at the University of Heidelberg, acted as the guest speaker (orator). In her speech she talked about the role of particle therapy in the modern radio-oncology.
Since 1997, the novel treatment developed at the GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research has been used for patients with head and neck tumors. In 2006, the treatment was extended to include patients with prostate tumors. Ion beam therapy is a very precise, yet gentle therapy method. Ion beams penetrate the body and only exert their full impact deep within the tissue, in a spot the size of a pinhead. The ion beams are steered with precision so exact, that a tumor the size of a tennis ball can be irradiated point by point with millimeter accuracy. The ion beam treatment is particularly suited for deep-seated tumors that are close to vital or important organs such as the brain stem, the optic nerve, the bladder or the intestine.
As the new form of treatment provided very good results, the Radiology Department of Heidelberg University Hospital opened a special Ion Therapy Centre in November 2009. A yearly number of 1,300 patients can be treated at the Heidelberg Ion Beam Therapy Centre (HIT). Its accelerator facility and irradiation technology were developed and built by GSI scientists and engineers. Two more facilities are currently under construction in Marburg and Kiel, Germany.