A look forward to PTCOG 51 in Seoul, South Korea.

Next May, proton therapy professionals from around the world will gather in Seoul, South Korea, for the 51st Annual Meeting of the Particle Therapy Co-Operative Group (PTCOG). PTCOG is a group of professionals that is advancing proton, light ion and heavy charged particle radiotherapy.

Members meet annually to share the most current science of particle therapy and promote clinical understanding and collaboration. The theme of the 2012 conference is Innovative Applications of Particle Beam Therapy. The PTCOG 51 conference in Seoul, South Korea’s capital city, presents a unique opportunity for attendees to experience a city with both rich history and modern splendor.

Hosting PTCOG 51 will be Korea’s National Cancer Center (NCC) . Created by the National Cancer Center Act in 2000, NCC is a government-funded institution that strives to improve national health and welfare by reducing the incidence and mortality of cancer through advanced research and patient care. The Center has treated cancer with protons since 2007. NCC pursues its goal of conquering cancer with the same forward thinking that has made Seoul a global city. This commitment includes state-of-the-art facilities, which, in addition to proton beam therapy, include Tomotherapy® and robotic surgery. The center also boasts a robust research institute emphasizing translational research, which allows cancer discoveries to be more quickly applied to clinical practice. Areas of current research at NCC include a proton dosimetry study, a patient positioning verification study and a Monte Carlo dose distribution study. Specific clinical research includes a Phase I dose escalation study using proton beam therapy for recurrent chordomas, chondrosarcomas, and atypical or malignant meningiomas after previous radiotherapy; and a Phase II study of respiratory gated proton beam radiotherapy for inoperable pancreas carcinoma.

A prospective study would involve proton beam craniospinal radiotherapy in children with newly diagnosed medulloblastoma — assessment of acute and longterm sequelae and quality of life. Work at NCC has already helped improve the five-year cancer survival rate in Korea to nearly 60 percent, and has increased the cancer-screening rate to more than 56 percent of the population. For more information on the 51st Annual Meeting of PTCOG, visit www.ptcog51.com .