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Inauguration of new European centre for brain cancer therapy

The first European facility providing advanced radiotherapy treatment for glioblastoma, a very aggressive form of brain cancer, was inaugurated by European Commissioner Edith Cresson on 29 January 1998.

The centre, situated at the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (...
The first European facility providing advanced radiotherapy treatment for glioblastoma, a very aggressive form of brain cancer, was inaugurated by European Commissioner Edith Cresson on 29 January 1998.

The centre, situated at the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) facility in Petten (The Netherlands), initiated the first clinical trials of boron neutron capture therapy (BNCT) in October 1997. So far, five patients have been treated. This innovative form of radiotherapy has been developed as a result of ten years of cooperative research between European research institutes and hospitals - supported throughout by the Community's specific RTD programme in the field of Biomedicine and Health (BIOMED) and the Commission's Joint Research Centre.

The principle of this new treatment is to allow cancer cells to be targeted much more selectively, thus limiting the damage done to normal tissue around the cancer cell. It is hoped that the treatment - still at the stage of clinical trials - will offer an effective weapon against this particularly aggressive brain cancer, affecting some 15,000 Europeans every year.

Medicine is a prime example of European cooperation, in that not only does it bring together knowledge and experiences, but it also makes best clinical practices widely available. Commenting on the significance of the work being carried out in Petten, Mrs. Cresson stressed that: "By bringing so many distinguished European scientists to work together in the same place, here in Petten, we have been able to reach the 'critical mass' necessary for this remarkable accomplishment - one which puts Europe back in the forefront of the fight against cancer".

Source: European Commission, Service du Porte-parole

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