Physics meets medicine at ICTR-PHE conference

From 10 to 14 February in Geneva, physicists, medical doctors and life-science experts will discuss innovative techniques in the fight against cancer


Over 400 participants from Europe, the US and Asia will gather at the Geneva International Conference Centre from today to attend the 2014 edition of the joint International Conference on Transnational Research in Radiation Oncology (ICTR) and Physics for Health in Europe (PHE) conference.

“For this second conference we will reproduce the successful model tested in 2012 with just a few tweaks, suggested by the participants themselves,” says Manjit Dosanjh, CERN’s Advisor for Life Sciences and Chair of the conference together with radiation oncologist Jacques Bernier from Geneva’s Genolier Clinic.

This second conference will feature more oral presentations on the themes proposed by PHE, including detectors, nuclear medicine and new technologies. The conference is also shorter than last edition to facilitate the attendance of medical doctors who might be under the pressure of their commitments with patients. “We kept the scheme adopted last time with a day of overlap between the two communities. On Tuesday we will have the public talk “Physics is beautiful and useful” by Ugo Amaldi,” says Dosanjh. “2014 also marks a round birthday for him, and I do hope to see many of you coming to celebrate with him on this occasion.”

2014 is a year of anniversaries for the communities attending the ICTR-PHE conference, as it will be 60 years of CERN, 60 years of particle beam therapy (the first patient was treated in Berkeley in 1954), and 20 years since Japanese doctors used a beam of carbon ions to hit cancerous cells for the first time. “This is a good time for us to take stock of the work done and move to the next phase: the clinical trials,” says Dosanjh. “A panel discussion is planned on the last day of the conference to address this question. This and the status reports from the various hadron-therapy centres will help us gather an updated picture of the current situation. Our hope is to contribute to the fight against cancer by boosting research, improving technologies and enhancing collaboration.”

Daily reports from the conference will be available from the conference website. Amaldi’s talk is public, no registration needed.

See a video featuring highlights from the 2012 edition of the ICTR-PHE conference here.