CNAO Foundation – National Centre of Oncology Adrotherapy

The National Center of Adrotherapy Oncology (CNAO) in Pavia is a non-profit, innovative and technologically advanced foundation established in 2001 by the Ministry of Health to create and manage an adrotherapy center for the treatment of resistant radio-cancers that are inoperable by the use of carbon ions and proton.

For the first time, a machine was built in Italy whose characteristics were specifically suitable for treating cancer rather than performing physics experiments. The treatment of tumours with adrotherapy requires a particle accelerator, the synchrotron, to accelerate carbon ions and protons at speeds close to that of light to acquire the energy necessary to treat the tumour. The CNAO synchrotron obtained the CE marking as a medical device from the  Italian National Institute of Health.

Hadrontherapy at the CNAO is provided within the National Health System for diseases included in the LEA. Other diseases can be treated according to the clinical protocols in place at CNAO. The treatments have proven to be reliable, safe, and effective.

Highly qualified professionals work in synergy to provide patients with the best treatment prospects.

Adrotherapy is an advanced form of radiotherapy that uses carbon ions or protons, unlike the “conventional” use of X-rays. Carbon ions cause DNA damage three times greater than that generated by conventional radiotherapy, saving the surrounding healthy tissues.

Based on clinical protocols defined and shared, patients are preselected and referred to the CNAO for treatments, maintaining the link with the health structures afferent.

Diseases currently treatable at the CNAO within the National Health System, included in the LEA:

  • Orbital and periorbital tumours, including ocular melanoma
  • Tumours of the brainstem and spinal cord – Intracranial meningiomas in critical locations
  • Adenoid cystic carcinomas of the salivary glands
  • Chordomas and chondrosarcomas of the base of the skull and spine
  • Paediatric solid tumours
  • Tumours in patients with genetic syndromes
  • Sarcomas of soft tissues
  • Bone sarcomas
  • Retreatment of tumours in irradiated sites

Other diseases covered by clinical protocols:

  • Pancreatic cancer
  • High-risk prostate cancer
  • Recurrence of rectal cancer
  • Brain tumours
  • Sinus tumours

A preliminary medical evaluation is required to verify the indication for Hadrontherapy treatment. If the proposed clinical case is considered a candidate, the patient is contacted within a week for an initial evaluation visit at the Centre. The CNAO website shows how to send clinical documentation.

The mission of the CNAO Foundation is not only cure but also research for the benefit of the cancer patient: clinical, radiobiological, medical physics and bioengineering research. Clinical research includes innovative and comparative studies on the use of hadrons to improve the application of hadotherapy to new diseases in collaboration with national and international cancer centers. Radiobiology research, focusing on radiation resistance, the mechanisms of interactions between hadrons and drugs and the response of healthy tissues.

Medical physics research focuses on analyses to improve quality control procedures for particle beams and develop increasingly precise and high-performance tools for attacking tumours.  Bioengineering research aims to create innovative devices related to patient positioning and tumour treatment located in moving organs. The CNAO also operates through national and international collaborations of excellence in clinical and research fields.

AIMaC Italian Association of Cancer Patients, Relatives and Friends

For cancer patients, information is the first medicine and AIMaC, with the National Service of Reception of Information in Oncology (SION), provided for by the National Oncological Plan and fulfilled with the support of ACC, ensures a personalized “information therapy” throughout the course of the disease, making use of:

  • National Helpline Service (Mon/Fri 9.00-19.00) www.aimac.it/aimac-per-te/help-line Civil service volunteers, specially trained and assisted by a clinical oncologist, a psychotherapist and a lawyer, answer questions about disease, treatments, and side effects and how to access benefits provided by law in the fields of employment, social security, and welfare. Tel 06 4825107; Fax 06 42011216; info@aimac.it
  • 45 Welcome and Information Points www.aimac.it/aimac-per-te/punti-informativi, in 31 cities at the main Italian cancer research and treatment centres (including IRCCSs members of ACC) where civil service volunteers trained in oncology communication provide assistance and support to cancer patients and their families by providing personalised information using AIMaC information material.
  • A series of 34 booklets www.aimac.it/libretti-tumore produced in collaboration with scientific institutes and universities on the main types of cancer and their treatments, their side effects and the best way to treat and live with the disease.
  • The ready-to-read website aimac.it provides up-to-date information on types of cancer, treatment, complications, and support services. The scientific validity of the information published on the site is also certified by the Health on the Net Foundation.
  • The website oncoguida.it realized in collaboration with ISS and the Ministry of Health to know whom to turn to for diagnosis, treatments, psychological support, rehabilitation and assistance, pain therapies, and asserting their rights. For each neoplasm are indicated the Centers with a high volume of oncology surgery activities, identified based on hospital discharge cards (SDO) and diagnostic and/or surgical procedures necessary.
  • The immuno-oncology portal www.aimac.it/cura-tumore/immuno-oncologia where you can understand and be informed about these new therapies with a few simple clicks.
  • Forum forumtumore.aimac.it is a virtual place where people with cancer and their carers can meet, share their experiences, talk about themselves and compare notes.
  • Centro di Ascolto Psico-Oncologico PARLIAMONE (Psycho-oncological Listening Centre), www.aimac.it/aimac-per-te/parliamone-centro-ascolto-psiconcologico to listen to and provide psychological support to patients and their families, encouraging the recognition and activation of individual, family and social resources.

AIMaC also defends the dignity of patients and their families, advocating for their needs to the institutions. This advocacy activity has led to the approval of laws that have improved the life quality of patients and their families www.aimac.it/diritti-del-malato

Aimac is a non-profit organization founded in 1997, listed in the Register of Voluntary Associations of the Lazio Region and legal entities. Since 2010, the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy has recognized it as an Organisation that carries out an activity of obvious social function on the national territory. Since 2014 it has been listed in the Register of entities that perform activities in the fight against discrimination. The role of the SION is recognized in numerous publications (AA.VV., National Cancer Information Service in Italy: information points network as a new model for providing information for cancer patients, Tumors. 2011; AA.VV. “Improving Information to Italian Cancer Patients: The Results of a Randomized Study”, Annals of Oncology, 2004).

Italian Sarcoma Group

Sarcomas are rare neoplasms requiring multidisciplinary treatment, including orthopedists, surgeons, oncologists, pathologists, radiologists, radiotherapists, and basic researchers.

On this basis, several specialists in treating sarcomas needed to come together to improve the treatment of these cancers.

In June 1997, the Italian Sarcoma Group was founded to further improve the quality of sarcoma treatment by promoting knowledge in this field and prepare and implement multicentric therapeutic and research protocols.

The main activity of ISG is in developing clinical trials and spontaneous observational studies, national and international, in the field of both bone and soft tissue sarcomas. As part of its main activity, it proposes training projects in clinical research to participate in clinical studies promoted by ISG.

Since July 2007, ISG has been a member of the Alliance Against Cancer. It has collaborated in projects such as the Extraordinary Oncology Programme 2006 by creating the National Network for the treatment and research of musculoskeletal sarcomas.

Italian Sarcoma Group is also engaged in advocacy activities, providing support and coordination to patient associations operating in sarcomas, thus establishing an essential network with patients, with the ultimate aim of improving the treatment and quality of life of patients with sarcomas.

Since 2005, more than 20 interventional clinical trials for the treatment of sarcomas and an equal number of observational studies have been initiated and conducted within the framework of European projects, offering sarcoma patients the possibility of benefiting from increasingly innovative therapies and therapeutic approaches.

ISG actively collaborates with the major international cooperative groups dealing with the treatment of sarcomas and, as a national network for the treatment of sarcomas, is involved in the major European projects dedicated to this disease, Eurosarc and Euroewing.

Since its creation in April 2015, ISG has been a member of FICOG (Federation of Italian Clinical Oncology Groups), whose aim is to promote and contribute to oncological research from the clinical and experimental perspective as well as develop and promote clinical trials.

The entire ISG ac