A new laser-proton beam delivery opens new doors to reducing the size and cost of proton therapy systems in cancer therapy


Collaborating Entities:  
Israel Innovation Authority (formerly the Office of the Chief Scientist of Israel) + HIL APPLIED 


  • HIL Applied Medical Ltd.
    HIL is developing a new class of ultra-compact, high-performance cancer Proton Therapy systems. The company bring 21st-century technology – nanotech, high-intensity lasers and advanced magnetics – to a field largely dominated by tech from the 1930’s and 1940’s (cyclotrons, iron-based magnets).  At the heart of innovation is a unique laser-based proton accelerator. Thus HIL is paving the way, for the first time, to truly cost-effective proton therapy solutions.
    HIL Applied Medical, Ltd. is a privately held company, funded by the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel’s Office of the Chief Scientist and wide, global base of private and strategic investors. We are headquartered in Jerusalem, Israel.
  • CERN:
    CERN is a research institute founded in 1954 located near Geneva, Switzerland. It was one of Europe's first joint ventures and now has 23 member states. Physicists and engineers at CERN use the world's largest and most complex scientific instruments (The LHC, for Large Hadron Collider, which is the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator) to study the basic constituents of matter – fundamental particles.
    The instruments used at CERN are purpose-built particle accelerators and detectors. Accelerators boost beams of particles to high energies before the beams are made to collide with each other or with stationary targets. Detectors observe and record the results of these collisions. CERN attracts the best scientists worldwide as it lies at the cutting edge of technology in many fields and the institute has pioneered many novel technologies in order to discover new particles, such as the development of the world wide web.

Successful Innovation

The International Technology Transfer Program has the goal to create collaborations between Israeli corporations and universities abroad or research institutions, in order to expose Israeli companies to relevant state-of-art knowledge and discoveries made by academic groups abroad, which could be incorporated in the development of breakthrough products.

In this way, the Israel Innovation Authority assists HIL Applied Medical, in transferring the knowledge acquired by the CERN teams around superconducting magnets for particle beams. Through this collaboration, HIL aims to further develop and integrate the technology into its proton therapy system, which will provide accessible proton beam cancer treatment to every patient around the world. 

The project: 
HIL is building an ultra-compact proton therapy system. This engrosses many technological challenges. One of these challenges is to collect and guide the protons from the laser-proton accelerator to the tumor inside the patient's body.

After one year of collaboration with CERN HIL identified a super-conducting magnet technology, which was developed internally at CERN for research purposes, and could potentially be implemented also in HIL's compact proton therapy system.  Further analysis revealed that – if successfully applied – this technology could reduce the footprint of the system by 50% and increase the proton transmission efficiency by a factor 3, compared with current technologies. 
In the coming year HIL and CERN – with the help of US-based magnetics company AML - intend design, build and test a first prototype, to further investigate the applicability of this technology for HIL's intended use. 

There are currently fewer than 250 proton therapy treatment rooms around the world, but there is a clinical need for more than 4,000 rooms if the systems were more affordable.

Using a new paradigm for the laser-proton acceleration and advanced magnetics for beam delivery opens new doors to reducing the size and cost of proton therapy systems. Combining the strengths and expertise of the HIL and CRN teams will, hopefully, get closer a future in which this important cancer therapy is affordable and widely available to patients worldwide.