The National Centre for Oncological Hadrontherapy (CNAO, sited in Pavia, Italy) completed at the end of 2013 the clinical trial phase achieving the CE label from the notified body of the Italian Health Ministry and obtained the authorisation to treat patients within the national health system. Nowadays more than 400 patients completed the treatments, two thirds of them with carbon ions, and recently started the treatment of pathologies located within moving organs. For the first time in the world carbon ions delivered with active scanning, coupled with breathing synchronisation and rescanning modalities have been applied to treat patients affected by tumours of the liver and by pancreatic cancers.The path to reach the final CE label required a wide-ranging experimental activity that went through dosimetry measurements of the hadron beams, in-vitro and in-vivo radiobiology essays and treatments of 150 patients, all enrolled in one of the 23 clinical trials approved by the Ethical Committee of CNAO and then authorized by the Italian Ministry of Health. The results of the trials were very positive in terms of safety and reliability of the procedures. The follow-up period is still short, but preliminary good results are observed in particular in terms of limited toxicity, that on the whole is less than expected.The paper gives a status report on the experimental phase that completed the CE certification process and then outlines the ongoing activities with also indications on the future trends and the most interesting R&D programmes pursued at CNAO.
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