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On behalf of the Proton Therapy Center Czech in Prague, we invite you to attend the 55th Annual Conference PTCOG 55, taking place May 22-28, 2016. For most of us an annual conference is already a highly significant event but we would like to add several other incentives for visiting Prague in 2016.
Primarily, particle therapy is getting stronger round the world with the number of proton centres and patients under treatment growing. This simultaneously increases the clinical experience and public awareness. We are convinced that PTCOG 55 will provide many new, predominantly technical and clinical results that will become a turning point in this field and will further accelerate development and acceptance of particle therapy in radiation oncology. To participate in this will be both a great experience and an opportunity.
Today data sharing is possible anywhere and with anyone in the world. However, personal contact, networking and discussion with industry partners can inspire further ideas and projects. We are looking forward to fruitful discussion about the presented results and the future of further advances in our field and co-operation.
Particle therapy is an exceptionally complex field, based on the knowledge and efforts of many generations of scientists, predominantly doctors and physicists. From this point of view, Prague is the most suitable place for such a meeting. The prestige Charles University was founded in 1348 by Charles IV, the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, and many important figures in the history of physics and medicine worked in Prague, for example, physicists Tycho de Brahe and Albert Einstein and in the field of medicine, Jan Evangelista Purkyně.
Prague was established 1,000 years ago and for the most of its history has been a centre of European education and culture. We are proud of this legacy and it will be an honour to continue this tradition with your visit. Besides that, the city is beautiful....
It will be our pleasure to welcome you to Prague at PTCOG 55 in May, 2016.
Medical Director PTC
Chief Physicist PTC
I would like to add my welcome to PTCOG 55 in Prague! It is also my pleasure to acknowledge the fine and diligent work done by the local team to prepare a great venue for our annual meeting. As the new Chairman of PTCOG I’ve had the opportunity to reflect on the value and impact that PTCOG has on the field of Particle Therapy. We enjoy an exponential growth of facilities and ideas. There are also multiple organizations that have been formed to enable enhanced interactions in this field. Regions previously ‘on-the-fence’ have joined the community with examples in the UK and the Netherlands. Technology improvements are now rapid as are increases in treatment sites being investigated.
Yet with all of this, there are challenges to the growth of the field. The concept of cost-benefit analyses and comparisons with advanced photon therapy are factors in the adoption of particle therapy. These factors cannot be ignored. PTCOG is a wonderful venue for exchange of ideas and presentation of accomplishments; however we must recognize the context of the greater radiotherapy community. Questions like how particle therapy compares with other modalities and whether comparisons that are being made are in fact appropriate. Should we, for example, compare old scattered beam data with IMRT? Furthermore, the body of scientific data is used in a variety of ways. One way is to determine what insurance coverage will be available for a given treatment site. How is such data chosen?
One message I would like to convey, is for those of you intending to attend PTCOG 55 and present, it might be a consideration for you to share how you view the role of particle therapy in the larger context. What studies are being done and what results are favorable and/or unfavorable. How is particle therapy data used or misused? PTCOG is an appropriate place to identify weaknesses as well as strengths and I invite you to submit abstracts that will include these aspects of the work we do. We should continue to find ways in which PTCOG can help identify avenues of growth and improvement.
PTCOG is evolving with the field. The educational session attendance continues to grow as the subject matter is refined and updated. All are welcome to participate. This is the first year that the scientific program subcommittee will have been in operation enabling continuity from meeting to meeting going forward. The Particles journal continues to flourish. With the encouragement of Eugen Hug, prior chair, we now have several Clinical Subcommittees. This year we will begin to formalize their charges. The Thoracic subcommittee has written a paper detailing consensus standards. Multidisciplinary input is welcome on all these subcommittees. Perhaps you have ideas you’d like to see expanded upon, but cannot be done within the context of the normal PTCOG Scientific Sessions? Please let the members of the Executive Committee know and suggest a group. Finally I would like to acknowledge the importance of our vendor contributions. Remember, that it is the goal of our vendors to provide tools for our field and they are tied to our success. We will be working towards ways to expand the synergies with our vendors in the coming months and encourage your ideas to help.
I am truly honored to be the new Chairman of PTCOG and I look forward to hearing from you and meeting with you in beautiful Prague!