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CHUV, CERN and THERYQ join forces for a world first in cancer radiotherapy

Monday 28 November 2022

Eager to offer the most effective techniques to patients, the CHUV has joined forces with a world-class research center and a cutting-edge industrial partner to solve a medical, physical and technical problem and find innovative solutions to fight cancer. | © CHUV

CHUV, CERN and THERYQ will develop a revolutionary FLASH radiotherapy device to treat cancers resistant to conventional treatments.

The Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois (CHUV), the European Laboratory for Particle Physics (CERN) and THERYQ (ALCEN Group) have signed an agreement for the world-first development of a revolutionary FLASH radiotherapy device that will use very high energy electron (VHEE) radiation to treat cancers resistant to conventional treatments. The device, based on CERN technology, will be installed at the CHUV in Lausanne (canton of Vaud).

This development represents a very important hope to increase the effectiveness of radiotherapy, for the greatest benefit of patients. By reducing irradiation to a few milliseconds, FLASH radiotherapy considerably reduces side effects while increasing the effectiveness on tumors.

The program benefits from the prior financial support of the ISREC Foundation, in partnership with the Biltema Foundation which, through an exclusive donation of CHF 25.8 million, makes this project possible.

A center of excellence and scientific and clinical innovation at the international level

Rebecca Ruiz, State Councilor in charge of the Department of Health and Social Action of the canton of Vaud, commented on the agreement: “The canton of Vaud decided to make cancer research a key focus in 2015. Over the past seven years, it has invested over USD 172 million in this field. The agreement signed today aligns itself perfectly with the intention of setting Lausanne as a center of excellence and scientific and clinical innovation at the international level, and enabling the population of Vaud to benefit from innovative treatments.”

The agreement covers collaboration from the three institutions on the development, planning, regulatory compliance and construction of the world's first radiotherapy device using the FLASH technique with very high energy electrons. THERYQ, part of ALCEN's Healthcare Division, will produce this unique device that uses a compact linear accelerator based on CERN technology. A special bunker will be built at the CHUV to accommodate this technology.

The device is expected to be operational within two years. The first clinical trials are planned for 2025.

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