Particle therapy in Europe
Particle therapy using protons or heavier ions is currently the most advanced form of radiotherapy and offers new opportunities for improving cancer care and research. Ions deposit the dose with a sharp maximum - the Bragg peak - and normal tissue receives a much lower dose than what is delivered by X-ray therapy. Particle therapy has also biological advantages due to the high linear energy transfer of the charged particles around the Bragg peak. The introduction of particle therapy has been slow in Europe, but within the last decade, more than 20 clinical facilities have opened and facilitated access to this frontline therapy. In this review article, the basic concepts of particle therapy are reviewed along with a presentation of the current clinical indications, the European clinical research, and the established networks.