Particle Physics in cancer medicine: Open issues and new perspectives

Aula A (Dipartimento di Fisica)

Aula A

Dipartimento di Fisica


Speaker: Michela Marafini


This seminar aims to illustrate, through two examples, how particle physics can make a significant contribution to oncological medicine. The International Agency for Research on Cancer estimated a 25% risk of tumour incidence in the European population in 2018, a figure expected to rise in the coming years. Prevention and early diagnosis remain fundamental tools, with nuclear imaging playing a pivotal role in noninvasive diagnosis. One of the most widely used diagnostic technologies is SPECT. In this contribution, we introduce a novel concept of total body SPECT gamma detector that utilises a tungsten metal frame serving both as a collimator and a container for segments of organic scintillators enriched with high-Z elements, enabling rapid scintillation processes and cost reduction. In addition to advancements in nuclear imaging, particle physics plays a significant role in tumour treatment through therapeutic particle beams. Recent studies have demonstrated increased effectiveness of radiotherapy and particle therapy in treating tumours while minimising damage to healthy tissue, particularly in the presence of ultra-high dose rates (~100 Gy/s): the Flash effect. To address this challenge of monitoring very high beam intensity, the Flash Detector beam Counter (FlashDC) has been developed. This beam monitor exploits the air fluorescence to characterise beam fluency and spatial distribution in real-time with high accuracy and minimal impact on treatment delivery.


    • 3:15 PM 3:30 PM
      Welcome coffee 15m
    • 3:30 PM 4:30 PM
      Particle Physics in cancer medicine: Open issues and new perspectives 1h
      Speaker: Michela Marafini (Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare)