The project Protons contra cancer (PROCCA) was selected as one out of eight new convergence environments that receive funding from UiO: Life Science this year. The convergence environment consists of interdisciplinary research groups that address major challenges within health and environment. The PROCCA consortium intends to create an excellent platform for collaborative efforts in proton therapy research in Oslo, and consists of research groups from several departments at UiO and OUS.
The consortium is headed by Eirik Malinen, Department of Physics, UiO, and Department of Medical Physics, OUS. At Institute for Cancer Research, Åslaug Helland, Department of Genetics, is one of the principal investigators, and Randi Syljuåsen and Heidi Lyng at Department of Radiation Biology are collaborators.
Norway will get its first proton therapy cancer center in Oslo in 2023. The potential benefits of protons are not fully exploited at international centers doing proton therapy today.
Proton therapy is more precise in delivering the dose to the patient and is therefore expected to significantly reduce side effects compared to state-of-the-art X-ray therapy. Also, protons deposit their dose in tissue differently from X-rays, and some studies indicate that protons may induce less toxicity per dose.
PROCCA will investigate different response mechanisms for protons versus X-rays and how they induce differential biological responses resulting in healthy tissue damage. Moreover, how this in turn affects quality of life for cancer survivors, both on terms of physical and psychological health will be investigated. The aim is to cure more patients, and at the same time ensure high quality of life after treatment.
OUS scientists involved it the PROCCA project: