State-of-the-art techniques borrowed from particle accelerators and detectors are a key element in hadrontherapy and several European projects are actively fostering the collaboration amongst the various disciplines and countries.
ENLIGHT was established in 2002 to coordinate these European efforts in hadron therapy.
The ENLIGHT network is formed by the European hadrontherapy Community, with more than 300 participants from twenty European countries. A major achievement of ENLIGHT has been the blending of traditionally separate communities so that clinicians, physicists, biologists and engineers with experience and interest in particle therapy are working together. Annual meetings are held each year in different locations. For more information on the annual meetings click here.
ENLIGHT demonstrates the advantages of regular and organised exchanges of data, information and best practices. It also determines strategies to be followed and actions to be implemented for future needs in research and technological development in the field. In 2006, the ENLIGHT community agreed that the goals of the collaboration could be best met by two complementary approaches: research in areas needed for highly effective hadrontherapy, and networking, to establish and implement common standards and protocols for treating patients. The primary mandate of ENLIGHT is therefore to develop strategies for securing the funding necessary to continue the initiative in these two fundamental aspects.
Specifically, in research these have been identified as important to:
- understand the biological mechanisms and the molecular players involved in the response of tumour tissues to hadrons
- enhance clinical research by increasing the first cohort of European patients treated with common protocols
- develop innovative techniques and tools to continuously improve the treatment and decrease the harm to healthy tissue and organs
- and in networking: develop a European training platform for current and future professionals
- expand the awareness of hadrontherapy among the general public
- exchange knowledge and data across Europe
Under the umbrella of ENLIGHT, there were four EC funded projects; PARTNER, ULICE, ENVISION and ENTERVISION, with total funding of 24 million Euros. All these projects are directed towards the different aspects of developing, establishing and optimising hadrontherapy.