Inaugurated in February 2010, CNAO (Italian National Centre for Oncology Hadrontherapy) is one of the most qualified institutes in the world for treatment and research in Hadrontherapy, a particular form of radiotherapy that, instead of conventional X-rays, uses protons and atomic nuclei (ions) to destroy the tumour with great precision and effectiveness. CNAO is one of six centres worldwide and one of three in Europe - along with the Heidelberg Centre in Germany and the MedAustron Centre in Austria - capable of treating cancer through the use of carbon ions. In addition to the beamlines dedicated to the clinical application, since 2022 CNAO can count on a new beamline developed in close collaboration with INFN, entirely dedicated to research. The new beamline will not interfere in any way with medical treatment due to its implementation in a dedicated experimental room. A third ion source, in addition to the two existing proton and carbon ion sources, is also planned to be installed during 2022, and will provide helium, oxygen, lithium and iron ion beams for multidisciplinary research activities. In addition to fundamental research objectives, radiobiology studies are planned for certain types of ions to evaluate their applicability to innovative clinical treatments that are potentially more effective than those currently available. The collaboration with INFN is in place since the early stages of design of CNAO: INFN co-directed the high-tech part necessary for the implementation of the Centre’s synchrotron, the particle accelerator realised thanks to the collaboration with INFN, CERN and the German GSI. In particular, the INFN has fielded the expertise and work of theI NFN Genoa, Milan, Pavia and Turin divisions, the Frascati National Laboratories, the Legnaro National Laboratories and the Southern National Laboratories: an expertise based on decades of experience of INFN in the field of nuclear and sub-nuclear physics. Indeed, it is the precision* of the CNAO synchrotron that is responsible for the effective application of Hadrontherapy, achieved by guiding the particles to selectively target cancer cells, causing multiple damage to their DNA while minimising damage to healthy tissue. In view of the high level of knowledge and technologies introduced for clinical practice objectives, extending the Centre's activities into multidisciplinary research has always been "the second pillar" of CNAO's strategy to keep the Centre at the forefront of innovation. We asked Valerio Vercesi, member of the INFN Committee for Life Sciences (INFN4LS), who has followed and follows the various joint INFN-CNAO programmes, to tell us about the state of the art of the beamline dedicated to research.
CNAO was founded as a Centre for the treatment of cancers. Could you please tell us about the genesis of the research programme with INFN?Since the initial design of CNAO, with a clear vision of the future, an area was planned for a beamline totally dedicated to research. Indeed, the approval of the construction of the Centre by the Ministry of Health ...
On 11 January, after a month of engineering and scientific checks that confirmed the perfect commissioning and operation of the satellite and its three telescopes, the observational campaign of the Imaging X-Ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE), the first space observatory entirely dedicated to the study of the polarisation of X-rays emitted by the hottest and most energetic objects in the universe, such as black holes, neutron stars and supernovae remnants, got underway.
Almost a week after the explosion of the underwater volcano on the island of Hunga Tonga - Hunga Ha’apai, in the South Pacific, which took place on 15 January, the pressure variations associated with the shock waves produced by the event, which, thanks to their energy, travelled several times the entire surface of the Earth, were recorded by the sensors of the cosmic ray detectors of the PolarquEEEst project ...
In January, following an agreement between INFN and the Agency for Territorial Cohesion, the project INFN.Open (Open INnovation from Fundamental Nuclear research) was launched. The objective of the project, funded with approximately 1.7 million euros under the Cohesion Action Programme Complementary to the PON "Governance and Institutional Capacity" 2014-2020, is to put the scientific ...
The "Colours and Images of Science" exhibition cycle of the Art&Science Across Italy project got underway in January 2022. The project, organised by INFN in collaboration with CERN, aims to bring youngsters closer to the world of science using the language of art. More than 5600 students are participating in the 2020-2022 edition of Art&Science Across Italy, from 140 schools in 10 regions, where the ...
Develop software packages to simulate the effects of radiation on electronic and electromechanical equipment, and to help designers in the implementation of devices: this is the goal of Beamide srl, the new INFN spin-off founded by researchers of the INFN Perugia Division. Beamide's flagship product is the MRADSIM (Matter RADiation Interactions SIMulator) software, a set of simulation packages developed thanks to the experience acquired by its founders in INFN in the field of coding and the study of the interaction between radiation and technological equipment. The main characteristics of these applications is to combine high computational performance with a simple graphical interface that allows even non-expert programmers to effectively simulate the effects of radiation on devices, thus expanding the pool of possible users. ...
Uncertainty permeates all of science: the progress of physics and of our knowledge is therefore inevitably linked to our ability to understand and handle uncertainty, a theme als artists deal with. This is the heart of the last event for the exhibition "Uncertainty. Interpreting the present, predicting the future", which will go live from the exhibition halls on the social media channels of INFN and Palazzo delle Esposizioni: an event dedicated to uncertainty in quantum mechanics, experimental physics and cosmology, and also in art, to understand how contemporary art elaborates and interprets the themes and categories of science, including that of uncertainty.
The exhibition “Uncertainty”, co-curated by INFN, is hosted in the halls of Palazzo delle Esposizioni (Rome) until February 27, as part of the project of Azienda Speciale Palaexpo "Three Stations for Art-Science" promoted by Roma Culture, together with the exhibitions "The Science of Rome" and "Ti Zero".
Cover image: the synchtrotron of the National Center for Oncological Adrotherapy (CNAO) of Pavia
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