1. to improve the treatment of BNCT for glioblastoma through the start of a new trial at the HFR;
2. to further develop the method to other types of cancer, such as liver cancer and melanoma;
3. to encourage and to contribute to a European and United States collaboration with a common clinical trial on melanoma metastases;
4. to intensify the management and operation a European-wide Network for research in NCT;
5. to continue to develop and improve NCT in the areas of treatment planning, patient image databank, dosimetry, standardisation in dose reporting, quality assurance and radiation protection;
6. to assist in the development of a patient network in CCs (NAS countries) for access to patient treatment in existing NCT facilities in Europe;
7. to train young researchers in the different fields of NCT;
8. to exploit informatics tools, specifically developed in FP5 and demonstrated by BNCT at the HFR, to a wider European usage;
9. to improve the dissemination of validated information, including regulatory information on medicines, best practices, published papers, via the International Society on NCT (ISNCT) worldwide network.
Main deliverables state of the art clinical platform through upgrading and improvement of the BNCT facility at the HFR, taking into account the conversion of the HFR to low enriched uranium fuel provision of the necessary technology and procedures to be able to start new clinical trials at Petten set-up of a European Network of Excellence in order to: - acquire/share know-how from each partner - harmonise codes of practice for phantom measurements to validate treatment planning calculations - harmonise quality assurance/quality control systems, especially for treatment planning, for NCT in Europe - set up a European-wide facility for image storage and retrieval to allow a wider usage of patient image data - set-up consensus-based European Standard Operating Procedures for NCT in Europe - exchange experience and results of clinical trials throughout Europe, thus stimulating and promoting BNCT in the medical community.
Summary of the Action:
BNCT (Boron Neutron Capture Therapy) has the ultimate goal to treat cancer patients suffering from many forms of cancer, in particular brain tumours. It is still regarded as a novel form of radiotherapy, which currently can only be performed at nuclear research reactors, such as the HFR. Within the Institutional Programme, progress in such areas as dosimetry, treatment planning, patient image data transfer and networking have progressed smoothly throughout 2002. IE BNCT staff members were invited, made and wrote many presentations for conferences and meetings, and hosted in Petten numerous BNCT scientists and clinicians from around the world, either for hands-on activities or to visit the facility. IE staff members co-organised the Tenth International Congress on NCT held in Essen, where 300 scientists attended. In particular, the contacts and updated information from the Congress have confirmed the needs and the objectives to develop treatment planning, dosimetry, boron imaging and quality assurance, as well as to intensify the building up of the Network of Excellence. Further development and improvement of the Quality Assurance systems for BNCT are necessary for the new clinical trials. Furthermore, 3 young grantholders are engaged on NCT activities in the group. For FP6, opportunities to attract more grantholders will be encouraged, whilst the underlying research will be developed on a more European-wide basis via the Network of Excellence. Rationale The application of nuclear technology for medicine as a tool to promote the use of radiation research for the health of the European citizen, is no more exemplified than with BNCT at the High Flux Reactor (HFR) in Petten.
After many years of pre-clinical research and development, cancer (glioblastoma) patients are being treated in a Phase I study at the HFR BNCT facility, with new trials planned to start in 2002/2003. To support clinical trials, improvement in some of the underlying basic research and procedures, e.g. treatment planning, dosimetry, boron imaging, quality assurance, are essential. Furthermore the global objective to treat cancer has its rationale in one of the Commission's goals to improve cancer statistics in Europe. The expertise and in-house know- how on BNCT developed within IE is second to none throughout the world and offers excellent opportunities for training for young researchers in the field. This will also be exploited through its contribution to the further development of a Network of Excellence.