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Italian technology to fight cancer in Prague

An experimental structure, ELIMAIA-ELIMED, opened at the physics laboratory in the Academy of Sciences in Prague in association with the Italian National Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN). The goal is to examine new ways of curing cancer with adrotherapy using particle beams. An Italian delegation attended the opening ceremony, led by Fernando Ferroni, President of the INFN. The Italian Ambassador Francesco Nisio expressed his satisfaction at having a world-class Italian product, completely developed in Sicily, that significantly enhances scientific cooperation between Italy and the Czech Republic. 

ELMAIA (ELI Multidisciplinary Applications of Laser-Ion Acceleration) is a module realised in the Czech Republic as part of the European ELI (Extreme Light Infrastructure) project, under Italian coordination. ELIMED (ELI-Beamlines Medical and Multidisciplinary Applications) was realised by the INFN National Laboratories of Southern Italy, also as part of the ELI project.   

ELIMED is an experimental hall that hosts a beamline used for the transport, selection and diagnosis of proton and ion beams, accelerated using a high-power laser. The scientific goal is to check whether protons produced by a non-conventional laser source can be used to treat cancer. The Prague centre is different from current ones due to how the particle beams are produced, as it uses matter-laser interaction. Once ELIMED is in operation, it will be the first complete hall of its type in the world, boasting cutting edge equipment to carry out research in physics, dosimetry and preclinical work. 

The cooperation between the National Laboratories of Southern Italy and the Czech Academy of Sciences dates back to 1998, and was strengthened through the ELI consortium and creation of the ELIMED line. INFN won the public tender to build the hall in 2014. The Czech centre (ELI Beamlines) is one of the three pillars of the ELI project, along with “ELI Attosecond” in Szeged (Hungary) and the “ELI Nuclear Physics” in Magurele (Romania).