Eric Forton

Introduction to hadrontherapy and how it can benefit from superconductivity today and in the future

Eric Forton


Friday, March 17, 2017



PSFC Seminars

Abstract: Born in the middle of the 20th century, proton/hadron therapy has slowly developed. But today, the market recently picked up momentum and new clinical facilities are opened every year.
The initial idea of hadron therapy is the same as for conventional radiation therapy: a particle beam delivers a high dose to the patient tumor with as little as possible stray dose to the surrounding tissues. But hadrons do not interact with matter through the same mechanisms as photons do. Hadron therapy therefore leverages on the way hadrons interact with matter in order to increase treatment efficiency and reduce side effects.
Today, a growing number of clinical studies indicate the superiority of the treatment modality in such a way that the number of indications for protontherapy is increasing. Furthermore, reports published in the past few years indicate that the fraction of patients who could receive a better treatment thanks to hadron beams could be at least 20% of all patients who receive radiation therapy… But only about 1% of the patient in the world have access to protontherapy today.
Smaller, cheaper protontherapy systems have appeared on the market in the last few years, increasing adoption rate. Most of them use superconductivity.
In this seminar, an introduction to hadrontherapy and the way dose is delivered to the patient will be presented. This introduction will be followed by a view on the market players and insights on their current systems and solutions. The way superconductivity is used in these systems will be discussed, highlighting how and why it could be useful or not, as well as the challenges to be addressed.

Bio: Eric Forton got a PhD in Physics from the University of Louvain (Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium) in 2006 for his work on the radiation hardness of silicon strip detectors for the central tracker of the CMS experiment at CERN. He then joined IBA (Ion Beam Applications), the worldwide leading company in protontherapy*, where he worked on various topics such as boron-neutron capture therapy, Monte Carlo modelling, cyclotrons and magnets for radiopharmaceuticals production and protontherapy. He is currently leading the accelerators research and development team at IBA.
* find out more on