Proton therapy 60 years

On November 23, 2017, it was 60 years since the first prototype treatment was given at the then Gustaf Werner Institute for Nuclear Chemistry (GWI), now The Svedberg Laboratory (TSL). It was also the first time ever in the world that proton radiation was used as tumor treatment.

At the Gustaf Werner Institute of Nuclear Chemistry, in the mid-50s, proton rays were extracted from the Synchronous Cyclone. Radiation biology, initiated by The Svedberg and John Naeslund with Börje Larsson as responsible for radiofysical work, came as an essential part of research activities. Following a number of experiments to determine the relative biological effect of protons (RBE) on biological material, the first patient treatment occurred on November 23, 1957, and a 60-year-old woman with cervical cancer was irradiated with protons. Sture Falkmer, John Naeslund and Stig Stenson from the Academic Hospital responded to the medical part of the work. This was the world's first cancer treatment with protons, a pioneer initiative of historical significance. Patient treatments with the Gustaf Werner cyclotron proton continued until the early 1970s. After a comprehensive rebuilding of the Gustaf Werner cyclotron in the 1970s and 1980s prototype treatments resumed in the late 1980s.

In 2015-2015, patient treatment with proton rays was the main activity at The Svedberg Laboratory with 35 weeks per year under an agreement between Uppsala University and the Academic Hospital. The majority of treatments related to brain tumors and prostate cancer. Activities at TSL during these years were essential for clinical continuity by maintaining and further developing the competence until the treatment operations started in autumn 2015 at the new national facility, The Skandion Clinic, adjacent to the Academic Hospital. The National Skandion Clinic is a facility for proton therapy, with the possibility of a future extension for treatment with other light ions. The Skandion Clinic will be able to handle more than 2000 patients per year at full operation.

Patient treatment with proton rays at The Svedberg Laboratory ended in the summer of 2015, but are continuing at the Skandion Clinic.