Can cyclotrons be used for medical purposes?

1 Answer
Dec 3, 2014

Yes, several university research cyclotrons have been converted to medical uses.

The Indiana University Cyclotron Facility was converted from a purely research facility to provide medical treatment for patients with various cancers. The proton beam is able to deposit energy at a precise depth in the tissue without harming the surrounding organs or tissues. This is particularly important with some types of brain cancer, prostate cancer, and cancers in the retina.

Such facilities can also be used to create short-lived isotopes which are used in medical imaging (like Positron Emission Tomography or PET) and in some medical treatments.