Launch of the proton accelerator of the Federal High-Technology Center of Nuclear Medicine of FMBA took place in the Ulyanovsk region

Tests were carried out within the visit of the Head of FMBA of Russia Vladimir Uyba and the Deputy Minister of Healthcare of the Russian Federation Sergey Krayevy on 18 March 2017.

 Vladimir Uyba acknowledged the uniqueness of this setup. "Even the early stages of cancer require a whole range of treatment methods. And here, in Dimitrovgrad, there is a proton setup which is unique in Russia. I think there will be no analogues for a long time because it is very expensive and one needs a huge infrastructure to be built. It was not by chance that we constructed it in Dimitrovgrad. A platform of RIAR, the one and only center of nuclear reactors of Rosatom, is already working in this city. In addition to proton therapy, we will use the radionucleide one - a non-surgical method which does not damage tissues", - said the Head of the Agency. He also explained that, thanks to proton therapy, doctors will be able to reach a tumor in any localization, which includes even places that can be treated with a scalpel and are resistant to chemotherapy. "Proton therapy, in fact, is the only treatment for such patients. And if earlier the similar diagnosis was a death sentence, then now, thanks to the proton setup, it is possible to cure it. A tumor can be completely destroyed by the beam physics. There is no recurrence after this treatment and the patient recovers. Due to the high speed of a bunch, we can apply proton therapy several times, treating not only the main tumor but also metastasises without any notable harm to the healthy tissue", - Vladimir Uyba emphasized.

In adittion, the Head of FMBA of Russia noted that in spite of the high costs of the method, it will allow to save more than 30 billion rubles from the budget of the Russian Federation. "This means that we will save the money spent on palliative care which just helps to alleviate the patient's suffering instead of curing the desease. In case of proton therapy, a person receives treatment and the tumor disappears forever. The economic results are plain to see, not to mention that we also save someone's life," - Vladimir Uyba said. The Head also mentioned that this setup would help to carry out precise diagnostics of other diseases such as, for example, cardiovascular inflammation.

The Deputy Minister of Healthcare of the Russian Federation Sergey Krayevoy emphasized that thes centre is unique because this is the only one in the world which uses all diagnostic methods and treatments, radial and nuclear. Thanks to this, the patient can receive a unique hi-tech medical care in one place without the need to visit various health facilities to receive diagnostics, treatment, rehabilitation procedures. “This cyclotron of the Belgian company IBA was improved by our Russian Institute of Nuclear Physics and its output was increased by 30%. Today this is the best device in the series which has no analogs in the world”, - said the Head. He also noticed that the uniqueness of the radiological center in Dimitrovgrad will be even more obvious in the future. “Currently, a lot of activities have been undertaken in the country to detect oncological diseases, which take the second place in the structure of mortality. Today oncology is not a death sentence. The modern diagnostic methods allow to detect a tumor at an early stage, and the modern methods of treatment can cure the person completely. This center was established with the full support and involvement of the Government of the Russian Federation and I think that so far, we cannot estimate its importance to the full extent”, - Sergey Krayevoy emphasized.

The proton center is a five-storey building with a basement. Its basis is a cyclotron complex which is set in a so-called "monocoque" and consisting of an accelerator - the isochronous cyclotron CYCLONE-235. Four medical treatment rooms are also located in the building where there are two 110-ton specialized  gantries and two specialized ray lines: one is to treat tumors in eyes and the second one is for high-precision stereotactic treatment within the radiation head. Experts explain that the gantry system is used to rotate the proton beam formation device around a positioner with the patient in the range of ±190 °. The gantry is a steel structure with a weight of 100 tons, a length of 10m and a diameter of 10m. Mounting of the gantry equipment is performed with respect to the isocenter point, which is the crosspoint of the proton beam axis and the gantry spin axis.

At the moment, mechanical assembly of the equipment for the Proton Therapy Center is coming to a conclusion, as well as connection of power, control and cooling networks, compressed air and medicinal gases systems. Assembly and connection of mechanical systems of gantry treatment rooms have been completed, the beam transport line and the one of proton cyclotron and its support systems have been installed. Experts of IBA will carry out preproduction tests of the cyclotron. They will also try out various elements of the setup and check operational reliability of the control system for the work area.

According to the statistics, every year 30-50 thousand people in the Russian Federation need proton beam therapy. It is advised to 7-8% of oncological patients, and for children with various forms of tumor the figure is as high as 90%. The high capacity of this center will be its main difference from the existing experimental laboratories. The proton pavilion of the FMBA of Russia's center will provide treatment to 1200 patients annually. Commissioning of the Center's facilities will take place step by step in the period of 2017-2018. The design capacity is to be reached in 2019. The Center will include an advisory clinic, a PET-center, a radiological center, a facility of radionuclide therapy designed to provide service to 37 people simultaneously and a round-the-clock hospital for 312 inmates.

“We realize great responsibility of the Ulyanovsk region in establishment of this complex. It is the most important site for us at the moment. In turn, we provide it with necessary infrastructure and amenities. For this purpose we created a special regional programme within which the region invested more than one billion rubles in construction of the center, as well as in infrastructure and amenities. This year more than 500 million rubles will be spent on development of Dimitrovgrad. Now we are creating conditions for comfortable stay of future employees and patients of the Center of Nuclear Medicine. We are building "Akademgorodok", which is, in fact, a new residential district in Dimitrovgrad. All utility networks have been placed at the expense of the region. A decision was made to expand it by 8.5 hectares. The first 10 houses have been commissioned. They conform to all modern requirements and comfortable living environments. In the nearest future, preparations for the construction of a kindergarten will begin. Then we are planning to build a school,”, - said Sergey Morozov, the Governor of the Ulyanovsk region.

We would like to remind that the project on creation of the Center of Nuclear Medicine is implemented in the territory of Dimitrovgrad in the framework of the state programme "Creation of federal centers of nuclear medicine technologies" by order of the President of the Russian Federation. More than twenty buildings, among which is a proton center, are a part of the establishment. In accordance with the order of the Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, 2.8 billion rubles will have been spent on construction and purchase of housing for healthcare workers of the nuclear industry in Dimitrovgrad by 2019. At the request of the Governor Sergey Morozov, the funding for construction of social objects in Dimitrovgrad is also to be increased at the regional level.

Over the last 4 years, about 300-400 million rubles are used annually for activities carried out in Dimitrovgrad. The city has two years to change the whole infrastructure of accomodation and hospitality. Opening of the Center will create about 1.5 thousand jobs for local and guest professionals. This will also bring the inflow of patients and medical tourists.

The whole infrastructure and amenities of Dimitrovgrad are being improved. In April, the preparatory work on construction of highways from the residential area to the Federal High-Technology Center of Nuclear Medicine (FHTCNM) will begin, as well as the one along the territory of FHTCNM. To provide employees of FHTCNM with accommodation more than 900 flats will be required. Today, complex construction is carried out in Dimitrovgrad and a part of these apartments are ready. It is planned to build a kindergarten and a school in the residential district "Akademgorodok".

An international-standard hotel complex is beeing built for patients who will come to Dimitrovgrad. It is planned to commission the facility in December, 2018. It will allow to increase the hotel room capacity in the city by 128 guest places and 80 new jobs will be created.

In addition, park improvement activities for a total of around 4 million rubles will be carried out in 2017. It is one of the priority projects that will change the structure of Sotsgorod’s public spaces. They will satisfy the requests of new inhabitants and will create a new type of city life in this area.