NIU Institute for Neutron Therapy: Capitalizing on the university’s close relationship with nearby federal research labs, RDI opened the Institute for Neutron Therapy at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in 2004. Neutron therapy is a unique and proven type of radiation treatment which blends advanced medical science with cutting-edge accelerator physics developed at Fermilab in Chicago’s western suburbs. The institute’s goals are to treat cancer patients who can benefit from a low-impact treatment with very few side affects, unlike other forms of radiation. NIU also conducts research on cancers that neutron therapy treats effectively.
RDI collaborates with researchers in NIU’s Colleges of Engineering and Engineering Technology and Liberal Arts and Sciences to improve the science of particle therapy, including both neutron and proton therapy. Since specialized healthcare personnel are needed for particle therapy treatment, RDI will work with the Colleges of Health and Human Sciences and Liberal Arts and Sciences to develop training programs for professionals in these new fields.
Northern Illinois Proton Therapy Facility: In order to meet national demand for low-impact proton therapy treatment, this facility will provide capacity for 1,500 patients’ care per year. A non-invasive and painless treatment, proton therapy is a preferred treatment for a variety of adult and pediatric cancers.
Partners in clinical areas, research, and education are working to make this initiative a reality. They plan to break ground for the new facility at Dupage National Technology Park in West Chicago during the spring of 2008. The cost of the facility is estimated at $160 million..
Like neutron therapy, proton therapy is a rich field for research and an important area for developing new preparation programs and ongoing professional development. Three NIU colleges will be involved in these efforts: