Vitalise-Project / Meeting with the Project Management Team of HITRIplus Project

Meeting with the Project Management Team of HITRIplus Project

VITALISE and HITRIplus Project joined forces today to discuss about common interests and synergetic opportunities to facilitate access to Research Infrastructures for the whole European research community and beyond.

The VITALISE Project Coordinator, Dr Evdokimos Konstantinidis and Ada Pellumbaj (Dissemination and Communication Manager) met with Angelica Facoetti from HITRIplus project on Wednesday, 9 March 2022 to discuss about common interests, potential collaborations and exchange knowledge about how to facilitate access to research infrastructures for the research community in Europe and beyond.

The main agenda items were:

  • The presentation of the two projects’ scope and objectives.
  • Open discussion on the optimisation of the process of providing access to European researchers in research infrastructures in Europe.
  • The exploration of opportunities to collaborate and promote the interests, goals and common good of both projects.
  • The establishment of synergies to work collaboratively on the communication and dissemination of the outputs and outcomes of the two projects.
  • The organisation of joint events along with other INFRAIA EU-funded projects to make European research infrastructures sustainable and open to the whole research community.

The discussion was very fruitful in terms of discussions, with interesting outcomes and essential exchange of knowledge.

About HITRIplus Project

This project for an advanced Heavy Ion Therapy Research Integration plus (HITRIplus) aims at bringing together, integrating on European scale, and opening up to European researchers from academia and industry, the key research infrastructures for bio-physics and medical research on cancer treatment with heavy ion beams, jointly developing at the same time the next generation of its sophisticated instruments.

The battle against cancer remains a long-term priority for our society. Among the primary tools to fight cancer, X-ray radiotherapy (RT) is nowadays a standard and accessible technique, delivered by as many as 3,500 treatment units installed in European hospitals. Besides X-rays, radiotherapy with beams of protons that deposit a lower radiation dose in the healthy tissues surrounding the tumour is now flourishing, with 25 units in operation in Europe and other 4 under construction . The next challenge in hadrontherapy consists in a wider use of radiotherapy using ions heavier than protons (primarily carbon), which presents many advantages over X-rays or protons in terms of dose conformity, effectiveness in particular against radio-resistant tumours, and perspectives of integration with modern immunotherapy. In Europe, only four centres deliver carbon ion therapy, compared to six in Japan and three in China.

Two main reasons are limiting the diffusion of heavy ion therapy and the access of a larger number of patients to this advanced treatment technique. The first is the limited availability of clinical and pre-clinical data. The second is the significant cost of the treatment, presently about a factor of four higher than X-ray RT in Germany and Italy, related to the significant cost and size of the particle accelerator required to accelerate the ions to the treatment energy.

The HITRIplus Starting Community initiative aims at gathering a wide multidisciplinary consortium to address both critical issues in a collaborative and structured way.