The CNAO, National Center Oncologic Adrotherapy, together with the INFN, several Universities and the "Enrico Fermi" Center for Studies and Research, has started the experimentation of INSIDE, an imaging system capable of "photographing" proton beams and carbon ions used to hit tumors with hadron therapy, aiming at increasing their precision. For this purpose a clinical study has been started involving 40 CNAO patients undergoing hadrontherapy for the treatment of meningiomas and tumors of the head and neck district (adenoid-cystic carcinoma, cord base chordoma, nasopharyngeal carcinoma).
CNAO is the only Italian center and one of only 6 in the world capable of delivering hadron therapy with protons and carbon ions, an advanced form of radiotherapy able to target inoperable and resistant radiotherapy tumors. To target tumor tissues, oncologic adrotherapy uses beams of protons or carbon ions that, compared to the X-rays used in traditional radiotherapy, have the ability to release their energy only near the tumor mass, minimizing the impact on tissues surrounding health and the resulting side effects.
The INFN section of Milan has been participating in this activity for six years, with a group currently consisting of G. Battistoni, Y. Dong, A. Embriaco, I. Mattei, S. Muraro, and S. Valle. They deal with Monte Carlo simulations, and with the development and testing of detection techniques for charged particles produced by the interactions of the therapeutic beam with the patient.