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IBA and partners launch significant proton therapy clinical trial

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European esophageal cancer trial to include six IBA centers

Research aims to extend the use of proton therapy and improve patient selection across cancer indications

Louvain-La-Neuve, Belgium, August 24, 2021 – IBA (Ion Beam Applications S.A., EURONEXT), the world’s leading provider of proton therapy solutions for the treatment of cancer, today announces the launch of a large-scale, multi-institutional, randomized controlled clinical trial in conjunction with 19 industry and academic partners. The consortium will conduct the “ProtectTrial” in esophageal cancer with the aim of improving access to proton therapy for patients, whilst validating a model-based approach for the use of proton therapy treatment in cancer more broadly.

IBA is one of two industry participants supporting the project, which has received funding from the Innovative Medicines Initiative 2 (IMI2), Joint Undertaking under grant agreement No 101008134. This Joint Undertaking receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program, European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) and the two industry partners.
More information can be found on

The research project comprises 12 proton therapy centers across eight countries and is coordinated by Professor Cai Grau from Aarhus University in Denmark. IBA will offer its expertise within proton therapy solutions, with six of its centers involved in the trial. A total of approximately 400 patients are expected to be included in the randomized trial with study completion planned by 2027.

Cancer of the esophagus is a complex disease with a relatively high occurrence and requiring complex multi-modality treatment associated with significant morbidity. In the ProtectTrial (PROton versus photon Therapy for Esophageal Cancer – a Trimodality strategy), the potential benefits of proton therapy will be tested in a trimodality treatment of radiotherapy, chemotherapy and surgery. It is hoped that the trial will produce high-quality data, which will contribute towards the creation of European guidelines on the use of proton therapy for esophageal cancer.

The broader aim of the collaboration is to improve patient selection for proton therapy across cancer indications through the evaluation of selection criteria and the creation of shared reimbursement guidelines. A new consensus model would be of clear value across Europe, for both patient referral and treatment.

“This is the first European particle research project combining both the public and private sector”, said Professor Karin Haustermans from Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KUL), co-Principal Investigator of ProtectTrial. “We are very grateful to IBA for supporting a project that reinforces a very solid collaboration between leading European centers and demonstrates the power of partnering across sectors and nationalities with the support from IMI and the proton therapy industry.”

“This significant project has the potential to produce high quality clinical data on the benefits of proton therapy”, said Olivier Legrain, Chief Executive Officer of IBA. “As our understanding of proton therapy’s efficacy grows, we believe this collaboration will help to define guidelines and selection criteria to make proton therapy more accessible to the patients who could benefit. We are very proud that six IBA proton therapy centers are contributing to the trial and we look forward to working with our partners to deliver high quality clinical evidence.”


About IBA

IBA (Ion Beam Applications S.A.) is the world leader in particle accelerator technology. The company is the leading supplier of equipment and services in the field of proton therapy, considered to be the most advanced form of radiation therapy available today. IBA is also a leading player in the fields of industrial sterilization, radiopharmaceuticals and dosimetry. The company, based in Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, employs approximately 1,500 people worldwide. IBA is a certified B Corporation (B Corp) meeting the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance.

IBA is listed on the pan-European stock exchange EURONEXT (IBA: Reuters IBAB.BR and Bloomberg IBAB.BB).

More information can be found at:

Soumya Chandramouli
Chief Financial Officer
+32 10 475 890

Olivier Lechien
Corporate Communication Director
+32 10 475 890

Consilium Strategic Communications
Amber Fennell, Angela Gray, Lucy Featherstone
+44 (0) 20 3709 5700


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