Particle therapy

Particle therapy is one of the Trond Mohn Foundation’s thematic initiatives. The motivation for the thematic initiativ is that Trond Mohn donated NOK 250 million to the Foundation dedicated to supporting the establishment of particle therapy as a form of cancer treatment at Haukeland University Hospital.

Particle therapy is a type of radiotherapy that has a stronger effect on the tumour tissue than today’s X-ray therapy. The reason for this is that this type of radiation has proven to have less harmful side effects. Particle therapy is particularly suitable for children and young people, as the treatment is more precise and gentle.

Helse Bergen health trust, the University of Bergen (UiB) and the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences all actively contribute to competence-raising, methodology development and research on the topic.

Competence-raising and the purchase of equipment in Helse Bergen health trust.

Physicists and research fellows at the Department of Oncology and Medical Physics and doctors affiliated with the Norwegian Cancer Society have required more expertise in the field of proton therapy, and, in addition to courses, work on studies and staff resources for dose planning, several have completed lengthy stays at proton facilities abroad.

The Department also needed to acquire a dose planning tool, which is an important tool for learning about and understanding particle therapy. The Foundation contributed to the procurement of this equipment, as well as to operating agreements, extra equipment and the competence-raising component. The project manager is head of department, Professor Olav Mella.

Research project in Helse Bergen

Professor Olav Dahl, who is a Senior Consultant at the Department of Oncology and Medical Physics, is head of the project ‘Molecular Mechanisms of Photon and Particle Radiation Responses in Malignant Tumors and Clinical Dosing of Carbon Ions’. The project focuses on radiation and particle therapy in conjunction with competence-raising and preparation for the use of particle therapy at Haukeland University Hospital (HUS). The project cooperates with the two leading carbon centres in Tokyo, which have more than 20 years’ experience in the field. Researchers and clinicians from HUS will be able to gain practical experience at the centres in Japan, as well as benefitting from their accumulated experience.

Research will also be conducted on what happens in tumours under radiation, so that the effect of the radiation can be improved, possibly in combination with medication. This work will be conducted at the Mohn Cancer Research Laboratory.

Competence-raising at the Department of Physics and Technology, University of Bergen

The overriding goal of the project is to be able to offer gentle radiotherapy in Bergen. Researcher Kristian Ytre-Hauge is head of the project ‘3D Microdosimetry and Studies of the Relative Biological Effectiveness (RBE) in Proton- and Carbon Ion Therapy’, where his concrete goal is to establish methods for determining dosimeter solutions and provide dosimetry data that is relevant to a particle therapy centre in Bergen. This is necessary to be able to plan and deliver the right dose of radiation in the right place once the cancer has been located in the patient.

Competence-raising and research project at the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences

In order to ensure that Bergen has the competence to start using the proton therapy technology as soon as it is established in Bergen, it is vital that students of healthcare subjects in particular receive the necessary training in/introduction to the technology and that competence is raised in dosimetry planning, delivery and monitoring. This will be achieved by 1) establishing a regional research and education consortium between UiB, HVL and HUS, which will raise competence in particle radiation therapy, and 2) initiating and supporting research and development work (develop equipment) that measures and shows the distribution of dose deposition, which is useful when planning treatment and monitoring dose deposition and radiation position in real time. The project is entitled ‘Prototyping of a Proton Computed Tomography System for Treatment Planning and Real-time Monitoring of Dose Deposition in Particle Therapy’, and the head of the project is researcher Ilker Meric. The project has clear parallels to and collaborates with the proton project at the University of Bergen.

‘The funding from BFS makes possible broad research in particle therapy involving a number of research fellows and researchers at Haukeland and the Department of Physics and Technology,’ says Kristian Ytre-Hauge in an interview at

The donations in brief:

Competence raising and purchase of equipment
Project period: 2014-2015
Project leader: consultant, professor Olav Mella
Donation: 5.5 MNOK
Host institution: Helse Bergen

Research project
Project period: 2016-2019
Project leader: Consultant, professor Olav Dahl
Funding: 20 MNOK
Host institution: Helse Bergen

Competence raising – research project
Prosjektperiode: 2015-2018
Project leader: Researcher Kristian Ytre-Hauge
Funding: 8 MNOK
Host institution: University of Bergen


Competence raising – research project
Project period: 2016-2019
Project leader: forsker Ilker Merik
Funding: 12 MNOK
Host institution: Høgskolen på Vestlandet

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