Particle Therapy

Trento, Italy

You may know your ions from your protons, but do you know the difference between active and passive beam delivery technology? Or the radiobiological, physical or clinical rationale for proton and carbon ion therapy? The course covers all this, as well as reviewing the current evidence for particle therapy, the status of clinical trials and the latest technological developments in this novel and important form of radiation treatment.

The course is aimed at radiation oncologists, medical physicists and professionals in allied fields, including trainees interested in particle therapy. Basic knowledge of radiation oncology and radiation physics are prerequisites. The course targets individuals who are either directly involved in a clinical particle therapy project, already practice particle therapy, or who desire to update their knowledge on particle therapy.

Course directors

  • Oliver Jäkel, Medical Physicist, German Cancer Research Centre (DKFZ) and Heidelberg Ion Beam Therapy Centre, Heidelberg (DE)
  • Marco Krengli, Radiation Oncologist, University of Piemonte Orientale & Centro Nazionale Adroterapia Oncologica (CNAO), Pavia, (IT)


  • Dirk De Ruysscher, Radiation Oncologist/ Radiotherapist, MAASTRO Clinic, Maastricht (NL)
  • Piero Fossati, Radiation Oncologist, MedAustron, Wiener Neustadt (AT)
  • Semi Harrabi, Heidelberg University Hospital, Heidelberg (DE)
  • Tony Lomax, Medical Physicist, Paul Scherrer Institute, Villigen (CH)
  • Marco Schippers, Medical Physicist, Paul Scherrer Institute, Villigen (CH)
  • Marco Schwarz, Medical Physicist, Proton Therapy Centre, Trento (IT)
  • Beate Timmermann, Radiation Oncologist, Klinik für Partikeltherapie, Universitätsklinikum, Essen (DE)

Local organiser

  • Marco Schwarz, Medical Physicist, Proton Therapy Centre, Trento


The course aims to:

  • Provide a detailed overview of the clinical rationale and indications of particle therapy, and the status of supporting medical evidence including status of clinical trials
  • Make understandable the distinguishing features of particle therapy compared to other radiotherapy modalities
  • Deepen knowledge of physical, biological, and technical aspects of particle therapy implementation in clinical practice
  • Teach particle treatment systems, dosimetry, treatment delivery, treatment planning and articulate the latest technological developments in particle therapy
  • Share challenges of particle centre projects in different health care environments.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course participants should be able to:

  • Understand the radiobiological and physical basis and clinical rationale for particle therapy
  • Have a basic understanding of accelerator technology, present equipment and the practical complexities of building a particle centre
  • Understand the differences between active and passive beam delivery technology, and details of treatment planning, specifically of intensity modulated therapy and motion management
  • Know the clinical rationale for proton and carbon ion therapy, the present indications and clinical practice according to various disease sites
  • Know the current clinical evidence for particle therapy, and the status of clinical trials
  • Have a general understanding of the integration of particle therapy in general radiation oncology
  • Summarise the latest technical developments
  • Have some knowledge of future directions in the research and development of particle therapy.

Course Content

  • Physical aspects of particle therapy
  • Ion source accelerator, beam line and beam delivery technology
  • Biological aspects of particle therapy
  • RBE determination, biophysical modelling plan optimisation
  • Beam delivery: passive and active techniques.

Physics: image guidance techniques, dosimetry and quality assurance

  • Imaging for treatment planning
  • Treatment planning for proton and carbon ion therapy
  • Plan evaluation, robustness, quality assurance
  • Intensity-modulated particle therapy, image-guided particle therapy, dosepainting, LET-painting
  • Physical and technical approaches to the treatment of moving organs.

Clinical indications, anti-cancer effects, toxicity, challenges and limitations of particle therapy

  • Clinical challenges and pitfalls of proton and carbon ion therapy
  • Current clinical indications and applications for proton and carbon ion therapy according to pathological and anatomical disease characteristics
  • Review of the literature, clinical case reviews and discussions, review of clinical trials
  • New trends in radiation oncology and integration of particle therapy
  • Future clinical directions and developments.

Roadmap for a particle therapy project

  • How to build a new particle therapy facility – from project planning to starting clinical operation
  • New technologies for hospital based particle centres
  • How to expand an existing radiotherapy department with particle therapy.

Protocol and journal club about latest clinical and physics developments.

Guided tour of particle therapy facility.


Before commencing this course participants should:

  • Have a basic understanding of radiobiology and radiation physics
  • Know the basics of radiotherapy and radiotherapy planning
  • Have a general understanding about the evaluation of medical evidence.

Teaching Methods

Tutorials, journal club, case reviews and discussions, tour of the proton facility.

Methods of Assessment

  • MCQ
  • Evaluation form.


Final programme available here

Key Words

Particle therapy, proton therapy, carbon ion therapy, radiotherapy


Grand Hotel Trento Piazza Dante, 20

38122 Trento



For hotel reservations, please contact: and mention you are a participant for the Particle Therapy course taking place in their hotel from 16 to 20 February


ESTRO members can order products at substantially reduced prices. Please note that in order to benefit from the member price, you must renew your membership for 2020 before registering to the course.To benefit from these member rates, please visit the membership page to become a member or renew your membership BEFORE proceeding with your order.



Early rate

Late rate

In-training members*   500 EUR  675 EUR
Members   650 EUR   775 EUR
Non Members   800 EUR  900 EUR

* Members with specialty RadiationTherapist (RTT) may register at the In Training fee

Early rates are applied up to three months before the starting date of the course. 
Late rates are applied three months before the starting date of the course.

The fee includes the course material, coffees, lunches, and the social event.

Advance registration & payment are required. Please contact if you want to register.

On-site registration will not be available.

Since the number of participants is limited, late registrants are advised to contact the ESTRO office before payment, to inquire about availability of places. Access to homework and/or course material will become available upon receipt of full payment.

Insurance and cancellation

The organiser does not accept liability for individual medical, travel or personal insurance. Participants are strongly advised to take out their own personal insurance policies.   

In case an unforeseen event would force ESTRO to cancel the meeting, the Society will reimburse the participants fully the registration fees. ESTRO will not be responsible for the refund of travel and accommodation costs.

In case of cancellation, full refund of the registration fee minus 15% for administrative costs may be obtained up to three months before the course and 50% of the fee up to one month before the course. No refund will be made if the cancellation request is postmarked less than one month before the start of the course.

Reduced fees

ESTRO members from economically challenged countries may register at a preferential rate of 350 Euro if three conditions are met:

1. Only ESTRO members for 2020 are eligible (please make sure your 2020 membership is in order before you apply for the reduced fees)
2. Only one course per person per year can be subsidized by ESTRO
3. Sponsored candidates are not entitled to reduced fees (the invoicing address has to be the one of the participant)  

Please note: 

  • We can only guarantee a certain number of reduced fees per course
  • Application deadlines are the same as early registration fees (3 months before the course date

List of Economically challenged countries and eligible courses