Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development

MEDIA - Press office ENEA
TOP IMPLART accelerator

Health: More effective and less invasive oncological therapies thanks to proton accelerator Top Implart

Steps forward in cancer treatment: TOP-IMPLART[1] an innovative linear proton accelerator dveloped at the ENEA Frascati Research Center (Rome), in collaboration with the Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS) and the Regina Elena National Cancer Institute (IRE-IFO), has reached for the first time a delivered energy of 71 MeV [2], the value required for medical application in the treatment of some superficial tumors like ocular melanoma. The plant, unique in Italy, also for its increasingly effective and less invasive oncological radiotherapy applications, is based on advanced technology, can also treat tumors in close proximity to critical organs, reducing collateral damage and protecting healthy tissues .

Smaller, more compact and more versatile than circular accelerators like cyclotrons or synchrotrons, TOP-IMPLART reduces final costs, land occupation and has less shielding requirements. Due to its characteristics, the system is also suitable for the study of flash protontherapy applications, i.e. high-dose, low-duration irradiations, very interesting due the evidence of damage reduction to healthy tissue hit by the particle beam during radiotherapy.

"The achievement of 71 MeV, the energy value needed for cancer treatment, represents significant progress", pointed out Concetta Ronsivalle, head of the ENEA Laboratory for the Development of Particle Accelerators and Medical Applications. "Through further funding - she said – we want to achieve a 120 MeV beam, the dosage needed for the treatment of pediatric and head and neck cancers".

Another key feature of the TOP-IMPLART system is the availability, downstream of the injector, of a low energy extraction line (3-7 MeV), created for cellular radiobiology experiments with vertical beam and useful in life science studies for the development of biocompatible fluorescent trace dosimeters. Due to its characteristics, the plant can be used to explore all the potential of this cutting-edge technique through experiments on biological models or also for testing new diagnostics and innovative dosimeters, suitable for this type of radiation. Furthermore, the particular structure of the proton beam allows its use in radiobiology experiments useful for basic research, in collaboration with the Biomedical Technologies Laboratory at the ENEA Casaccia Research Centre.

Know-how, competence and innovative structures designed by ENEA have already been transferred to two initiatives conducted in collaboration with industry for the enhancement of their respective skills: the first for the development of the EHRA prototype with the Apulian company Linearbeam ( ITEL group); the second for the LIGHT implant of the English company AVO - Oncotherapy.

TOP-IMPLART also enables to conduct cutting-edge research in the aerospace sector with advanced technological activities, including the simulation of radiation in an interplanetary environment. TOP-IMPLART can provide significant understanding of the mechanisms of the damage induced by radiation and their effect on the survival of hardware and biological systems in space: for this reason it has been included in the Asi Supported Irradiation Facilities program of the Space Agency Italian (ASI) and is the focus of technical-scientific research with institutions, industries and universities capable of both an interactive coordination of radiation systems at the service of the national and international space community and the transfer of knowledge on particles from research to industry.

Photos and videos

For more information please contact:

Concetta Ronsivalle, ENEA -  Head Particle Accelerator and Medical Applications Development Laboratory,


[1] Oncological Proton Therapy – Intensity Modulated Proton Linear Accelerator for Radiotherapy

[2] Millions of electron-volts