Physics and Medicine: ready for a new rendez-vous

The second ICTR-PHE conference is on the starting blocks. From 10 to 14 February, physicists, medical doctors and life science experts will meet again in Geneva to discuss how to improve the use of innovative techniques in the fight against cancer.


Over 400 participants from Europe, the US and Asia will gather at the Geneva International Conference Centre to attend the 2014 edition of the joint ICTR (International Conference on Transnational Research in Radiation Oncology) and PHE (Physics for Health in Europe) conference. “For this second conference we will reproduce the successful model tested in 2012 with just a few tweaks, suggested by the participants themselves,” says Manjit Dosanjh, CERN’s Advisor for Life Sciences and Chair of the conference together with radiation oncologist Jacques Bernier from Geneva’s Genolier Clinic.

This second conference will feature more oral presentations on the themes proposed by PHE, including detectors, nuclear medicine and new technologies. “The medical doctors and biology experts who attended the first conference showed their appreciation and interest for the topics presented by the physics community,” explains Dosanjh. “We decided to reduce the number of posters in the dedicated session and to give more visibility to these topics by including them in the normal programme of presentations. This balances the contributions from the different communities and gives more opportunities for young people to present their innovative ideas.”

This year, the conference is also a bit shorter to facilitate the attendance of medical doctors who might be under the pressure of their commitments with patients. “We kept the scheme adopted last time with a day (the Wednesday) of overlap between the two communities. On Tuesday we will have the public talk “Physics is beautiful and useful” by Ugo Amaldi (see here for more information),” explains Dosanjh. “2014 also marks a round birthday for him, and I do hope to see many of you coming to celebrate with him on this occasion.” 

2014 is a year of anniversaries for the communities attending the ICTR-PHE conference, as it will be 60 years of CERN, 60 years of particle beam therapy (the first patient was treated in Berkeley in 1954), and 20 years since Japanese doctors used a beam of carbon ions to hit cancerous cells for the first time. “This is a good time for us to take stock of the work done and move to the next phase: the clinical trials,” comments Manjit Dosanjh. “A panel discussion is planned on the last day of the conference to address this question. This and the status reports from the various hadron-therapy centres will help us gather an updated picture of the current situation. Our hope is to contribute to the fight against cancer by boosting research, improving technologies and enhancing collaboration.”

Daily reports from the conference will be available from the conference website. Amaldi’s talk is public, no registration needed.

Please watch the video featuring the highlights from the 2012 edition
of the ICTR-PHE conference:

by Antonella Del Rosso