icona cordomi3

icona tronco encefalico


icona sarcomi tessuti molli


icona sarcomi ossei2

icona meningiomi sito

icona orbitari sito

icona tumori acc


icona pediatrici


icona sindromi genetiche


icona recidive


icona tumori pancreas

(Pre-op treatment/locally advanced inoperable tumors treatment)

icona prostata


icona tumore retto

incona seni paranasali


icona tumori cerebrali

The CNAO is an “in-house” project with an approach that has enabled savings on construction costs while, at the same time, established high professional competencies. It is also a prototype that has inspired many imitators. At the European level, almost a dozen projects, with CNAO as a partner providing technical and medical support, are currently seeking approval and/or funding, including the Austrian project Med-Austron, which has already developed plans to build a CNAO sister Centre near Vienna.
These initiatives bring clear benefits to both, with the dissemination and export of skills and technology, and involvement of industries participating to the development of the project, especially the Italian ones.
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European Physical Journal’ article by S. Rossi (in English).

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CNAO’s ‘High Technology’ components consist of a set of accelerators and transport lines of particle beams. The beams are generated by sources that produce carbon ions and protons. The most important accelerator machine is the Synchrotron. The synchrotron at CNAO is a prototype resulting from the research in high energy physics made possible through the collaboration of the Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN), CERN (Switzerland), GSI (Germany), LPSC (France) and of the University of Pavia University (Italy). It is based mostly on Italian technology.
The synchrotron is a “donut” 80 meters long with a diameter of 25 meters. In two areas inside the circumference the beams of particles are created in devices called “sources”, which contain plasma formed by the gas atoms that have lost their electrons. Using magnetic fields and radio frequency pulses, these atoms are extracted and the protons and carbon ions are selected. In this way “packages” composed of beams -each one containing billions of particles- are formed.
These packages are pre- accelerated and sent to the synchrotron where, initially, they travel at about 30,000 kilometers per second. Subsequently they are accelerated to kinetic energies of 250 MeV for protons and 480 MeV for carbon ions (the MeV, equivalent to one million electron volts, is the unit of energy used in nuclear and atomic scale phenomena).
The particle beam is accelerated in the synchrotron and travels about 30,000 kilometers in a half second to reach the desired energy. The beams are then sent to one of the three treatment rooms. Above this station there is a magnet of 150 tons which bends 90 degrees the particle beam and directs it from above to the person to be healed.
The beam that strikes the cells of the tumor is like a “brush” that moves in a manner similar to that of electrons in a TV and acts with a precision of 200 micrometers (two tenths of a millimeter).
This accuracy is achieved by means of:
  • Constant monitoring of the patient to follow any movements of the body (breathing, for example) that can change the location of the tumor, using infrared cameras to measure movement in a three-dimensional way
  • Two scanning magnets that, based on feedback of the beam monitoring system, move the “brush” along the outline of the tumor
In this way, section by section, the tumor is destroyed. The transition from one section to another deeper section is achieved by increasing the beam energy. The entire radiation lasts a few minutes.
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The National Centre for Oncological Hadrontherapy organizes guided tours for students from high schools, universities, research institutes and scientific organizations. Among CNAO missions, besides patients' cure, there is also education to research and innovation, as an effective tool to raise young persons' interest in their future professions.


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To apply at CNAO Foundation, always interested in evaluating professionals who are highly qualified, send your resume to the e-mail: cv@cnao.it

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