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Targeting Cancer With Heavy Ions

symposium participants

Participants in a symposium and press briefing exploring the latest advances and challenges in particle therapy for cancer at the 2014 AAAS meeting: Eric Colby (U.S. Department of Energy), Jim Deye (National Cancer Institute), Hak Choy (University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center), Kathryn Held (Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital), Stephen Peggs (Brookhaven National Laboratory and Stony Brook University), and Ken Peach (Oxford University). (Credit: AAAS)

The Lab’s Media & Communications Office recently organized a symposium titled “Targeting Tumors: Ion Beam Accelerators Take Aim at Cancer” at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) meeting in Chicago, Illinois. The annual AAAS meeting is the largest scientific gathering of its kind in the world, attracting more than 5,000 scientists, science journalists, and members of the public. 

Symposium speakers included Brookhaven Lab physicist Steve Peggs, who is also an adjunct professor at Stony Brook University, and representatives from the National Cancer Institute, the Department of Energy, and others. They described how advances in accelerators built for fundamental physics research over the past 50 years have inspired improved cancer treatments and explained the benefits and challenges in using proton and carbon ion beams to destroy cancer cells while leaving normal tissue unharmed.

The speakers also described the state of basic and clinical research in the field including some very encouraging results coming out of carbon treatment facilities in Europe and Asia, as well as  the funding challenges related to building a carbon ion treatment facility in the U.S. They emphasized the importance of radiobiology research in advancing these techniques, and the important role the NASA Space Radiation Laboratory at Brookhaven plays as the only U.S. facility capable of conducting this type of research using heavy ions.

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2014-4734  |  INT/EXT  |  Media & Communications Office

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