Antiproton Cell Experiment (ACE): Antimatter Against Cancer

Antiprotons 4 times more effective than protons for cell irradiation. ‘A pioneering experiment at CERN with potential future application in cancer therapy has produced its first results. Started in 2003, ACE (Antiproton Cell Experiment) is the first investigation of the biological effects of antiprotons. “We have taken the first step towards a novel treatment for cancer. The results show that antiprotons are four times more effective than protons at terminating live cells. Although it still has to be compared with other existing methods, it is a breakthrough in this area of investigation.” says Michael Doser at CERN, one of the scientists collaborating on the experiment. ACE brings together a team of experts in the fields of physics, biology, and medicine from 10 institutes around the world. Current particle beam therapy commonly uses protons to destroy tumour cells inside a patient. The ACE experiment directly compared the effectiveness of cell irradiation using protons and antiprotons. To simulate a cross-section of tissue inside a body, tubes were filled with hamster cells suspended in gelatine. Researchers sent a beam of protons or antiprotons with a range of 2 cm depth into one end of the tube, and evaluated the fraction of surviving cells after irradiation along the path of the beam.’

Status Report on AD-4/ACE Antiproton Cell Experiment, The Biological Effectiveness of Antiproton Annihilation, 2004 (PDF)

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